Promotion dynamics the Peter Principle: Incumbents vs. external hires
The "Peter Principle" (Peter and Hull, 1969; Fairburn and Malcomson, 2001; Lazear, 2004) suggests that individuals are "promoted to their level of incompetence". A corollary of the "Peter Principle" prediction is that external hires should have an advantage when competing with incumbents for a higher position. Using five years of personnel records from a single large U.S. corporation, this paper contributes to the literature on internal labor markets and intra-firm job mobility by testing this prediction for career advancement. Results support the idea of differences in promotion dynamics among incumbents and external hires, since past career advancement within the firm result in a lower probability of subsequent promotion, even after controlling for workers' heterogeneity and tenure on the current job. The advantage for external hires does not hold once other job changes (lateral transfers, task reorganizations) are considered, highlighting that promotions are a very different job placement mechanism than transfers. Overall, the evidence points out towards declining performance following promotion, as opposed to alternative competing hypothesis of probation placement or "handicapping" external candidates.
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.
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.
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.:
- Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 1999. "A Theory Of Wage And Promotion Dynamics Inside Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1321-1358, November.
- William Chan, 2006. "External Recruitment and Intrafirm Mobility," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 169-184, January.
- Agrawal, Anup & Knoeber, Charles R. & Tsoulouhas, Theofanis, 2006.
"Are outsiders handicapped in CEO successions?,"
Journal of Corporate Finance,
Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 619-644, June.
- Lemieux, Thomas & MacLeod, W. Bentley & Parent, Daniel, 2007.
"Performance Pay and Wage Inequality,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 2007. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley Macleod & Daniel Parent, 2006. "Performance Pay And Wage Inequality," Departmental Working Papers 2006-08, McGill University, Department of Economics.
- Sherwin Rosen, 1985.
"Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments,"
NBER Working Papers
1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fairburn, James A & Malcomson, James M, 2001.
"Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 45-66, January.
- Fairburn, J.A. & Malcomson, J.M., 1995. "Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 304.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Fairburn, J.A. & Malcomson, J.M., 2000. "Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle," Economics Series Working Papers 9926, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- James Malcomson & James A. Fairburn, 2000. "Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle," Economics Series Working Papers 26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Ariga, Kenn & Ohkusa, Yasushi & Brunello, Giorgio, 1999.
"Fast track: is it in the genes? The promotion policy of a large Japanese firm,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 385-402, April.
- Ariga, Kenn & Brunello, Giorgio & Ohkusa, Yasushi, 1997. "Fast Track: Is it in the Genes? The Promotion Policy of a Large Japanese Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie & Julie Valentin, 1999. "Early Starters versus Late Beginners," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 731-760, August.
- Chan, William, 1996. "External Recruitment versus Internal Promotion," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 555-70, October.
- Michael Gibbs & Wallace Hendricks, 2004. "Do formal salary systems really matter?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(1), pages 71-93, October.
- Christian Belzil & Michael Bognanno, 2004.
"The Promotion Dynamics of American Executives,"
- Belzil, Christian & Bognanno, Michael L., 2004. "The Promotion Dynamics of American Executives," IZA Discussion Papers 1003, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Christian Belzil & Michael Bognanno, 2004. "The Promotion Dynamics of American Executives," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-05, CIRANO.
- Christian Belzil & Michael Bognanno, 2004. "The Promotion Dynamics of American Executives," Working Papers 0404, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
- James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980.
"Experience, Performance, and Earnings,"
NBER Working Papers
0278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979.
"Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
- Edward P. Lazear, 2004. "The Peter Principle: A Theory of Decline," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S141-S163, February.
- McCue, Kristin, 1996. "Promotions and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 175-209, April.
- James J. Heckman, 1981. "Heterogeneity and State Dependence," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 91-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:6:p:975-986. 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.