IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlabec/doi10.1086-673371.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Cost of High-Powered Incentives: Employee Gaming in Enterprise Software Sales

Author

Listed:
  • Ian Larkin

Abstract

This article investigates the pricing distortions that arise from the use of a common nonlinear incentive scheme at a leading enterprise software vendor. The empirical results demonstrate that salespeople are adept at gaming the timing of deal closure to take advantage of the vendor's accelerating commission scheme. Specifically, salespeople agree to significantly lower pricing in quarters in which they have a financial incentive to close a deal, resulting in mispricing that costs the vendor 6%-8% of revenue. Robustness checks demonstrate that price discrimination by the vendor does not explain the identified effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Larkin, 2014. "The Cost of High-Powered Incentives: Employee Gaming in Enterprise Software Sales," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 199-227.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/673371
    DOI: 10.1086/673371
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/673371
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/673371
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1086/673371?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    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. Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
    2. Paul Oyer, 1998. "Fiscal Year Ends and Nonlinear Incentive Contracts: The Effect on Business Seasonality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 149-185.
    3. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    4. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
    5. Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith & Schoumaker, Francoise, 1988. "The Deadline Effect in Bargaining: Some Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 806-823, September.
    6. David Godes, 2003. "In the Eye of the Beholder: An Analysis of the Relative Value of a Top Sales Rep Across Firms and Products," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(2), pages 161-187, May.
    7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    8. Rajiv Lal & V. Srinivasan, 1993. "Compensation Plans for Single- and Multi-Product Salesforces: An Application of the Holmstrom-Milgrom Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(7), pages 777-793, July.
    9. Victor Manuel Bennett, 2013. "Organization and Bargaining: Sales Process Choice at Auto Dealerships," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(9), pages 2003-2018, September.
    10. Amiya K. Basu & Rajiv Lal & V. Srinivasan & Richard Staelin, 1985. "Salesforce Compensation Plans: An Agency Theoretic Perspective," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(4), pages 267-291.
    11. Ian Larkin & Stephen Leider, 2012. "Incentive Schemes, Sorting, and Behavioral Biases of Employees: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 184-214, May.
    12. Healy, Paul M., 1985. "The effect of bonus schemes on accounting decisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 85-107, April.
    13. Shane M. Greenstein, 1993. "Did Installed Base Given an Incumbent Any (Measurable) Advantages in Federal Computer Procurement?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 19-39, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tat Y. Chan & Jia Li & Lamar Pierce, 2014. "Compensation and Peer Effects in Competing Sales Teams," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(8), pages 1965-1984, August.
    2. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    3. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883.
    4. Robert Gibbons, 2005. "Incentives Between Firms (and Within)," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(1), pages 2-17, January.
    5. Sanjog Misra & Harikesh Nair, 2011. "A structural model of sales-force compensation dynamics: Estimation and field implementation," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 211-257, September.
    6. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2004. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Explicit Performance Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 23-56, January.
    7. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2373-2437 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gerald Marschke & Pascal Courty, 2000. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Performance Incentives," Discussion Papers 00-12, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    9. Fabio Caldieraro & Anne T. Coughlan, 2009. "Optimal Sales Force Diversification and Group Incentive Payments," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1009-1026, 11-12.
    10. Shan Li & Kay-Yut Chen & Ying Rong, 2020. "The Behavioral Promise and Pitfalls in Compensating Store Managers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(10), pages 4899-4919, October.
    11. Tzioumis, Konstantinos & Gee, Matthew, 2013. "Nonlinear incentives and mortgage officers’ decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 436-453.
    12. Oyer, Paul, 2000. "A Theory of Sales Quotas with Limited Liability and Rent Sharing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 405-426, July.
    13. Doug J. Chung & Thomas Steenburgh & K. Sudhir, 2014. "Do Bonuses Enhance Sales Productivity? A Dynamic Structural Analysis of Bonus-Based Compensation Plans," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 33(2), pages 165-187, March.
    14. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2011. "Personnel Economics: Hiring and Incentives," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 20, pages 1769-1823, Elsevier.
    15. Tsuru, Tsuyoshi, 2008. "Transforming Incentives : Analysis of Personnel and Employee Output Data in a Large Japanese Auto Sales Firm," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 49(2), pages 109-132, December.
    16. Arzum Akkaş & Nachiketa Sahoo, 2020. "Reducing Product Expiration by Aligning Salesforce Incentives: A Data‐driven Approach," Production and Operations Management, Production and Operations Management Society, vol. 29(8), pages 1992-2009, August.
    17. Francis, Bill & Hasan, Iftekhar & Mani, Sureshbabu & Ye, Pengfei, 2016. "Relative peer quality and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 196-219.
    18. Pedro Ortín‐Ángel & Vicente Salas‐fumás, 1998. "Agency‐Theory and Internal‐Labor‐Market Explanations of Bonus Payments: Empirical Evidence from Spanish Firms," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 573-613, December.
    19. Tat Y. Chan & Jia Li & Lamar Pierce, 2014. "Learning from Peers: Knowledge Transfer and Sales Force Productivity Growth," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 33(4), pages 463-484, July.
    20. Bouwens, J.F.M.G. & van Lent, L.A.G.M., 2003. "Effort and Selection Effects of Incentive Contracts," Discussion Paper 2003-130, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    21. Fangruo Chen, 2000. "Sales-Force Incentives and Inventory Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 2(2), pages 186-202, February.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    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:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/673371. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Journals Division (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE .

    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.