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Contractual and Organizational Structure with Reciprocal Agents

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  • Florian Englmaier
  • Stephen Leider

Abstract

We solve for the optimal contract when agents are reciprocal, demonstrating that generous compensation can substitute for performance-based pay. Our results suggest several factors that make firms more likely to use reciprocal incentives. Reciprocity is most powerful when output is a poor signal of effort and when the agent is highly reciprocal and/or productive. Similarly, reciprocal incentives are attractive when firm managers have strong incentive pay and discretion over employee compensation. While reciprocal incentives can be optimal even when identical firms compete, a reciprocity contract is most likely when one firm has a match-specific productivity advantage with the agent. (JEL D23, D86, J33, M12, M52)

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Englmaier & Stephen Leider, 2012. "Contractual and Organizational Structure with Reciprocal Agents," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 146-183, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:4:y:2012:i:2:p:146-83
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.2.146
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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