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Promotion Rules and Skill Acquisition: An Experimental Study

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  • HESSEL OOSTERBEEK
  • RANDOLPH SLOOF
  • JOEP SONNEMANS

Abstract

Standard economic theory identifies a trade-off between up-or-stay and up-or-out promotion rules. Up-or-stay never wastes the skills of those not promoted but may provide insufficient incentives to invest in skills. Up-or-out can always induce investment in skill acquisition but may waste the skills of those not promoted. The paper reports an experiment designed to study this trade-off. Under up-or-out, parties behave almost exactly as theory predicts. But under up-or-stay (and stay-or-stay), results differ markedly from theoretical predictions. In that case workers invest rather frequently, although the prediction is that they would not. These deviations can be explained by various reciprocity mechanisms. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Promotion Rules and Skill Acquisition: An Experimental Study," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(294), pages 259-297, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:74:y:2007:i:294:p:259-297
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philip A. Haile & Ali Horta├žsu & Grigory Kosenok, 2008. "On the Empirical Content of Quantal Response Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 180-200, March.
    2. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Suman Ghosh & Michael Waldman, 2010. "Standard promotion practices versus up-or-out contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(2), pages 301-325.

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