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Discretionary rewards as a feedback mechanism

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  • Suvorov, Anton
  • van de Ven, Jeroen

Abstract

This paper studies the use of discretionary rewards in a finitely repeated principal-agent relationship with moral hazard. The key aspect is that rewards have informational content. When the principal obtains a private subjective signal about the agent's performance, she may pay discretionary bonuses to provide credible feedback to the agent. In accordance with the often observed compression of ratings, we show that in equilibrium the principal communicates the agent's interim performance imperfectly, i.e., she does not fully differentiate good and bad performance. Furthermore, we show that small rewards can have a large impact on the agent's effort, provided that the principal's stake in the project is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Suvorov, Anton & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2009. "Discretionary rewards as a feedback mechanism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 665-681, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:67:y:2009:i:2:p:665-681
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2008. "Awards: A view from psychological economics," IEW - Working Papers 357, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Terstiege, Stefan, 2013. "Objective versus Subjective Performance Evaluations," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 430, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    3. Silvia Dominguez Martinez & Randolph Sloof & Ferdinand von Siemens, 2010. "Monitoring your Friends, not your Foes: Strategic Ignorance and the Delegation of Real Authority," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-101/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Delfgaauw, Josse & Souverijn, Michiel, 2016. "Biased supervision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 107-125.
    5. William Fuchs, 2015. "Subjective Evaluations: Discretionary Bonuses and Feedback Credibility," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 99-108, February.
    6. von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2013. "Intention-based reciprocity and the hidden costs of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 55-65.
    7. Andrei Bremzen & Elena Khokhlova & Anton Suvorov & Jeroen van de Ven, 2015. "Bad News: An Experimental Study on the Informational Effects Of Rewards," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 55-70, March.
    8. Susanne Neckermann & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Awards as Incentives," IEW - Working Papers 334, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    9. Chen, Bin R., 2015. "Subjective performance feedback, ability attribution, and renegotiation-proof contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 155-174.
    10. Ján Zábojník, 2014. "Subjective evaluations with performance feedback," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(2), pages 341-369, June.
    11. Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
    12. Oliver Masakure & Kris Gerhardt, 2016. "Employee Commitment and Wages in the Private Sector," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 30(1), pages 38-60, March.
    13. Sebald, Alexander & Walzl, Markus, 2015. "Optimal contracts based on subjective performance evaluations and reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 62-76.

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