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

Hidden effort, learning by doing, and wage dynamics

  • Arantxa Jarque

Many occupations are subject to learning by doing: Effort at the workplace early in the career of a worker results in higher productivity later on. In such occupations, if effort at work is unobservable, a moral hazard problem also arises. We study a particular specification of learning by doing in which the conditional distribution of output depends on the sum of undepreciated efforts. With this specification, we can overcome the technical difficulties for solving for the optimal contract that arise because of the persistent effects of effort in time. Our numerical example shows that effort is frontloaded over the contractual relationship, and follows a steeper decreasing pattern than in the case without learning by doing. On the other hand, the properties of wage dynamics remain unchanged with respect to those of the optimal contract without learning by doing.

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: no

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its journal Economic Quarterly.

Volume (Year): (2010)
Issue (Month): 4Q ()
Pages: 339-372

in new window

Handle: RePEc:fip:fedreq:y:2010:i:4q:p:339-372:n:v.96no.4
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

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. Wang, C., 1995. "Incentives, CEO Compensation, and Shareholder Wealth in a Dynamic Agency Model," GSIA Working Papers 1995-08, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
  4. Arantxa Jarque, 2005. "Repeated Moral Hazard with Effort Persistence," 2005 Meeting Papers 428, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  6. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
  7. Illoong Kwon, 2006. "Incentives, wages, and promotions: theory and evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 100-120, 03.
  8. Phelan, Christopher, 1994. "Incentives, insurance, and the variability of consumption and leisure," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 581-599.
  9. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:1:p:100-120 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  11. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
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:fip:fedreq:y:2010:i:4q:p:339-372:n:v.96no.4. 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: (William Perkins)

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.