Effort Incentives and On-the-Job Search: An Alternative Role for Efficiency Wages in Employment Contracts
AbstractWe study an infinitely repeated principal-agent relationship with on-the-job search. On-the-job search is modeled as a dimension of the agent's effort vector that has no effect on output, but raises his future outside option. The agent's incentives to search are increasing in the degree to which a higher outside option improves his gains from trade. Search also increases the agent's cost of effort thus generating an effort-substitution problem between work and search effort. We show that the principal can mute search incentives by offering an e fficiency wage contract. Due to effort substitution, e fficiency wages increase the agent's work effort incentives for a given bonus scheme. Thus, effi ciency wages serve as a complement rather than as a substitute to piece rates. Our results provide a new rationale for the use of effi ciency wages as an incentive device and hence greatly extend the set of environments in which e fficiency wages are predicted to be useful as an incentive device. Our findings thus also contribute to the explanation of empirically observed inter-industry variation in the size and composition of worker compensation. --
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79983.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
- D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
- J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2014-02-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-CTA-2014-02-02 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-HRM-2014-02-02 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
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