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Setting Incentives: Temporary Performance Premiums versus Promotion Tournaments


  • Volker Meier


Two alternative relative compensation schemes are compared with respect to the output that can be generated at a given sum of salaries. While the promotion regime guarantees that any salary increase is permanent, the premium system allows a reduction in the income of an agent to the base salary after one period. It is shown that the optimum promotion tournament system induces a higher total output than the optimum premium system. This result is obtained because a promotion regime allows a distortion in a contest in favor of winners of previous contests. Copyright 2004 CEIS, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Volker Meier, 2004. "Setting Incentives: Temporary Performance Premiums versus Promotion Tournaments," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 18(4), pages 661-674, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:labour:v:18:y:2004:i:4:p:661-674

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 841-864, October.
    2. Margaret A. Meyer, 1992. "Biased Contests and Moral Hazard: Implications for Career Profiles," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 25-26, pages 165-187.
    3. Margaret A. Meyer, 1991. "Learning from Coarse Information: Biased Contests and Career Profiles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 15-41.
    4. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    5. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
    6. 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.
    7. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
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