IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/soceco/v38y2009i4p684-690.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Cognitive dissonance and the overtaking anomaly: Psychology in the principal-agent relationship

Author

Listed:
  • Smith, John

Abstract

We propose that the concept of cognitive dissonance contributes to the explanation of the regularity that wages grow faster than productivity. Cognitive dissonance is the tendency of a person to engage in self-justification after a decision. We show that a consequence of this tendency is that agents prefer increasing sequences of surplus over their career. This is achieved by paying wages less than productivity early in the career and more than productivity later. We refer to this as the overtaking anomaly. We distinguish the cognitive dissonance explanation from other explanations of the overtaking anomaly by identifying their divergent implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, John, 2009. "Cognitive dissonance and the overtaking anomaly: Psychology in the principal-agent relationship," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 684-690, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:4:p:684-690
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6W5H-4W04KJ3-2/2/229ce8641b0462c9e5889bcb1b50d82d
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bai, Chong-en, 1997. "Earnings profile and monitoring under asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 219-225, December.
    2. Clark, Andrew E., 1999. "Are wages habit-forming? evidence from micro data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-200, June.
    3. Kyota Eguchi, 2000. "Effects of Monitoring Costs on Employment Adjustment and Wage Profiles," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 51(4), pages 568-582, December.
    4. Rabin, Matthew, 1994. "Cognitive dissonance and social change," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-194, March.
    5. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-620, September.
    6. Balestrino, Alessandro & Ciardi, Cinzia, 2008. "Social norms, cognitive dissonance and the timing of marriage," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2399-2410, December.
    7. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-319, June.
    8. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-736.
    9. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    10. Smith Freeman, 1977. "Wage Trends as Performance Displays Productive Potential: A Model and Application to Academic Early Retirement," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(2), pages 419-443, Autumn.
    11. Chapman, Gretchen B., 1996. "Expectations and Preferences for Sequences of Health and Money," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 59-75, July.
    12. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
    13. Flabbi, Luca & Ichino, Andrea, 2001. "Productivity, seniority and wages: new evidence from personnel data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 359-387, June.
    14. Hosseini, Hamid, 1997. "Cognitive dissonance as a means of explaining economics of irrationality and uncertainty," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 181-189.
    15. Christian Grund & Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and the Impact of Wage Increases on Job Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(2), pages 313-335, June.
    16. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    17. Debraj Ray, 2002. "The Time Structure of Self-Enforcing Agreements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 547-582, March.
    18. Haagsma, Rein & Koning, Niek, 2002. "Endogenous mobility-reducing norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 523-547, December.
    19. Lowenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1991. "Negative Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 347-352, May.
    20. Joanne Salop & Steven Salop, 1976. "Self-Selection and Turnover in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 619-627.
    21. Robert J. Oxoby, 2004. "Cognitive dissonance, status and growth of the underclass," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 727-749, October.
    22. Oxoby, Robert J., 2003. "Attitudes and allocations: status, cognitive dissonance, and the manipulation of attitudes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 365-385, November.
    23. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    24. Gilad, Benjamin & Kaish, Stanley & Loeb, Peter D., 1987. "Cognitive dissonance and utility maximization : A general framework," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 61-73, March.
    25. Gary Gigliotti & Barry Sopher, 1997. "Violations of Present-Value Maximization in Income Choice," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 45-69, July.
    26. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
    27. Frank, Robert H. & Hutchens, Robert M., 1993. "Wages, seniority, and the demand for rising consumption profiles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 251-276, August.
    28. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," NBER Working Papers 6957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Joanne Salop & Steven C. Salop, 1976. "Self-selection and turnover in the labor market," Special Studies Papers 80, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    30. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 315-333.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Battisti, Michele, 2015. "Present-biased preferences and optimal compensation schedules: a note," MPRA Paper 64818, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Sean Duffy & John Smith, 2013. "Preference for increasing wages: How do people value various streams of income?," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(1), pages 74-90, January.
    3. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John & Woods, Kristin, 2015. "How does the preference for increasing payments depend on the size and source of the payments?," MPRA Paper 64212, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Mark Bowden, 2015. "A model of information flows and confirmatory bias in financial markets," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer;Associazione per la Matematica, vol. 38(2), pages 197-215, October.
    5. John Smith, 2007. "Cognitive Dissonance, Imperfect Memory and the Preference for Increasing Payments," Departmental Working Papers 200705, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    6. Larry Epstein & Igor Kopylov, 2006. "Cognitive Dissonance and Choice," RCER Working Papers 525, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:4:p:684-690. 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). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175 .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.