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The Optimal Structure of Incentives and Authority Within an Organization


  • James A. Mirrlees


Two kinds of models for a productive organization are presented. In the first, both production and rewards are based on the performance of individuals, which is perfectly observed. Their abilities are not observable. Despite this, theorems are proved giving strong grounds for the equality of wages and marginal products unless there is monopsony in the labor market. This latter case is also discussed. The second model, which focuses on the imperfect observation of performance, allows interesting deductions about optimal payment schedules and organizational structure.

Suggested Citation

  • James A. Mirrlees, 1976. "The Optimal Structure of Incentives and Authority Within an Organization," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 105-131, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:7:y:1976:i:spring:p:105-131

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwin Mansfield & John Rapoport & Anthony Romeo & Samuel Wagner & George Beardsley, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-240.
    2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    3. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
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