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Information Management in Rank-Order Tournaments

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Abstract

We study a rank-order tournament in which employees acquire and use private information for an investment decision. In this environment, competition for promotion can turn employees into "yes men" who make investment decisions that excessively agree with their supervisor's preconceived notions. Employees become "yes men" when their supervisor's prior opinion is strong and the parties receive little subsequent information. In response to this inefficiency, the firm may intensify the tournament's incentives (e.g., increase the wage raise from promotion), increase the correlation of employees' information (e.g., use tournaments for employees handling similar tasks), or reduce the importance of any individual supervisor's prior opinion (e.g., evaluate employees using a committee).

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File URL: http://econ.hunter.cuny.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/RePEc/papers/HunterEconWP413.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Hunter College Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College with number 413.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:htr:hcecon:413

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Keywords: Tournaments; Information Aggregation; Conformity;

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  1. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1996. "Impetuous Youngsters and Jaded Old-Timers: Acquiring a Reputation for Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1105-34, December.
  2. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  3. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
  4. Lorne Carmichael, 1983. "Firm-Specific Human Capital and Promotion Ladders," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 251-258, Spring.
  5. Fairburn, James A & Malcomson, James M, 2001. "Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 45-66, January.
  6. Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Incentives and Careers in Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dye, Ronald A, 1984. "The Trouble with Tournaments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(1), pages 147-49, January.
  8. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  9. Drago, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T, 1998. "Incentives for Helping on the Job: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, January.
  10. Paul Heidhues & Johan Lagerlöf, 2000. "Hiding Information in Electoral Competition," CIG Working Papers FS IV 00-06, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG), revised Feb 2002.
  11. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  12. Gibbons, Robert & Waldman, Michael, 1999. "Careers in organizations: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2373-2437 Elsevier.
  13. Prendergast, Canice, 1993. "The Role of Promotion in Inducing Specific Human Capital Acquisition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 523-34, May.
  14. Jeong-Yoo Kim & Keunkwan Ryu, 2003. "Yes-Men and No-Men: Does Defiance Signal Talent?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(3), pages 468-, September.
  15. Baker, George P & Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1988. " Compensation and Incentives: Practice vs. Theory," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 593-616, July.
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