IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Optimal tournament contracts for heterogeneous workers

  • Gürtler, Oliver
  • Kräkel, Matthias

We analyze the optimal design of rank-order tournaments with heterogeneous workers. Iftournament prizes do not differ between the workers(uniform prizes), as in the previous tournament literature, the outcome will be ineffcient. In the case of limited liability, the employer may benefit from implementing more than first-best effort. We show that the employer can use individual prizes that satisfy a self-commitment condition and induce effcient incentives at the same time, thus solving a fundamental dilemma in tournament theory. Individual prizes exhibit two major advantages - they allow the extraction of worker rents and the adjustment of individual incentives, which will be important for the employer if he cannot rely on handicaps.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 75 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 180-191

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:75:y:2010:i:2:p:180-191
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Kanemoto, Yoshitsugu & Bentley MacLeod, W., 1992. "Firm reputation and self-enforcing labor contracts," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 144-162, June.
  2. Christine Harbring & Gabriele K. Lünser, 2008. "On the Competition of Asymmetric Agents," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 373-395, 08.
  3. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  4. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1985. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 85-21, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Dragon, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T. & Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 1996. "A collective tournament," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 223-227, February.
  6. Steven Tadelis, 2002. "The Market for Reputations as an Incentive Mechanism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 854-882, August.
  7. Thomas J. Dohmen & Ben Kriechel & Gerard A. Pfann, 2004. "Monkey bars and ladders: The importance of lateral and vertical job mobility in internal labor market careers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 193-228, 06.
  8. Hans K. Hvide, 2002. "Tournament Rewards and Risk Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 877-898, October.
  9. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-80, April.
  10. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
  11. Madhav V. Rajan & Stefan Reichelstein, 2006. "Subjective Performance Indicators and Discretionary Bonus Pools," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 585-618, 06.
  12. 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.
  13. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-98, December.
  14. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-55, November.
  15. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Guasch, J Luis, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Tournaments, and Hierarchies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 867-81, August.
  16. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Yoshitsugu Kanemoto & W. Bentley MacLeod, 1988. "The Theory of Contracts and Labor Practices in Japan and the United States," Working Papers 708, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  18. Kong-Pin Chen, 2003. "Sabotage in Promotion Tournaments," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 119-140, April.
  19. Hoffler, Felix & Sliwka, Dirk, 2003. "Do new brooms sweep clean? When and why dismissing a manager increases the subordinates' performance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 877-890, October.
  20. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  21. Lynch, James G., 2005. "The effort effects of prizes in the second half of tournaments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 115-129, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:75:y:2010:i:2:p:180-191. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.