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Relative performance or team evaluation? Optimal contracts for other-regarding agents

  • Bartling, Björn

This paper derives optimal incentive contracts for agents with other-regarding preferences. It offers a behavioral explanation for the empirically observed lack of relative performance evaluation. We analyze a principal-multi agent model and assume that agents are inequity averse or status seeking. We show that team contracts can be optimal even if the agents' performance measures are positively correlated such that relative performance evaluation would be optimal with purely self-interested agents and even though relative performance evaluation provides additional incentives to provide effort if agents have other-regarding preferences. Furthermore, optimal incentive contracts for other-regarding agents can be low-powered as compared to contracts for purely self-interested agents.

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

Volume (Year): 79 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 183-193

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:79:y:2011:i:3:p:183-193
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  1. Hideshi Itoh, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Other-Regarding Preferences," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 18-45.
  2. Bartling, Björn & Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2007. "Equal Sharing Rules in Partnerships," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 217, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2001. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1938, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2000. "Fair Procedures. Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 483.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Christian Grund & Dirk Sliwka, 2005. "Envy and Compassion in Tournaments," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 187-207, 03.
  8. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  9. Agell, J. & Lundborg, P., 1999. "Survey Evidence on Wage Rigidity and Unemployment: Sweden in the 1990s," Papers 1999:12, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  10. Englmaier, Florian & Wambach, Achim, 2005. "Optimal Incentive Contracts under Inequity Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 1643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. William S. Neilson & Jill Stowe, 2010. "Piece-Rate Contracts For Other-Regarding Workers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 575-586, 07.
  12. Kragl, Jenny & Schmid, Julia, 2009. "The impact of envy on relational employment contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 766-779, November.
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  14. Amihai Glazer, 2008. "Optimal Contracts When a Worker Envies His Boss," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 120-137, May.
  15. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet & Carsten Helm, 2004. "Output and Wages with Inequality Averse Agents," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-47, CIRANO.
  16. Pedro Rey Biel, 2004. "Inequity aversion and team incentives," Microeconomics 0407009, EconWPA.
  17. Bartling, Björn & Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2006. "The Intensity of Incentives in Firms and Markets: Moral Hazard with Envious Agents," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 115, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  18. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2003. "Group vs. Individual Performance Pay When Workers Are Envious," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-10, CIRANO.
  19. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  20. 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 841-64, October.
  21. Conyon, Martin J & Murphy, Kevin J, 2000. "The Prince and the Pauper? CEO Pay in the United States and United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F640-71, November.
  22. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  23. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
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