Annullable bonuses and penalties
An annullable penalty is a sanction that is applied unless monitoring takes place and the agent is found non-shirking. An annullable bonus is a bonus that the agent receives unless he has been monitored and found shirking. Annullable penalties and bonuses stand in contrast with normal penalties and bonuses, which are only applied if monitoring has taken place. While real-life examples of annullable penalties are rare (an example is a sanction for which the burden of proof is reversed), there is a clear and oft-discussed example of annullable bonuses: efficiency wages. Under efficiency wages all employees receive a bonus (an overpayment), except for those who have been monitored and found shirking. This paper analyzes under what conditions annullable bonuses or penalties make economic sense. On the one hand, annullable bonuses and penalties have a degree of ineffectiveness that is absent in their normal counterparts: the penalty paid by or the bonus paid to non-monitored agents does not improve their incentives. Not only does this ineffective part make the expected sanction or bonus higher than necessary but it also creates an implicit tax on low monitoring levels and hence distorts monitoring choices. On the other hand, the annullable variants may change the ex post incentives of the agents (to come up with evidence) and the principal (to monitor as promised). As a result, annullable bonuses (such as efficiency wages) can be rational choices when the principal cannot credibly commit to paying bonuses with a certain probability, and annullable penalties can make sense when the agent needs an incentive to reveal information.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Boadway, Robin & Marceau, Nicolas & Marchand, Maurice, 1996.
"Time-Consistent Criminal Sanctions,"
Public Finance = Finances publiques,
, vol. 51(2), pages 149-165.
- BOADWAY, Robin & MARCEAU, Nicolas & MARCHAND, Maurice, "undated". "Time-consistent criminal sanctions," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1337, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- BOADWAY, Robin & MARCEAU, Nicolas & MARCHAND, Maurice, 1994. "Time-Consistent Criminal Sanctions," CORE Discussion Papers 1994010, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Boadway, R. & Marceau, N. & Marchand, M., 1993. "Time-Consistent Criminal Sanctions," Papers 9318, Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique.
- Robin W. Boadway & Nicolas Marceau, 1993. "Time-Consistent Criminal Sanctions," Working Papers 883, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 562-570, Winter.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," NBER Working Papers 3634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
- Henrik Lando, 2006. "Does Wrongful Conviction Lower Deterrence?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 327-337, 06.
- Matthew Baker & Thomas Miceli, 2005. "Credible Criminal Enforcement," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 5-15, July.
- Matthew J. Baker & Thomas J. Miceli, 2003. "Credible Criminal Enforcement," Working papers 2003-40, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The optimal level of corporate liability given the limited ability of corporations to penalize their employees," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 203-213, June.
- Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
- George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
- Cooter, Robert & Garoupa, Nuno, 2000. "The Virtuous Circle of Distrust: A Mechanism to Deter Bribes and Other Cooperative Crimes," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt83c0k3wc, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
- Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci & Barbara M. Mangan, 2008. "Disappearing Defendants versus Judgment-Proof Injurers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(300), pages 749-765, November.
- Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:29:y:2009:i:4:p:349-359. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.