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Professionalism and Contracts in Organizations

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  • Canice Prendergast

Abstract

Employees in public agencies rarely have pay for performance: instead their incentives are often guided by a sense of professionalism. This paper concerns how organizations should monitor professionals. The primary outcome of the paper is that weak incentives lead public agencies to exhibit bias in their oversight, by rewarding the interests of their employees to the detriment of other constituencies' concerns. In some instances, this bias is complete by entirely ignoring other interests.

Suggested Citation

  • Canice Prendergast, 2015. "Professionalism and Contracts in Organizations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(3), pages 591-621.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/679671
    DOI: 10.1086/679671
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Itoh, Hideshi, 1992. "Cooperation in Hierarchical Organizations: An Incentive Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 321-345, April.
    2. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    3. Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 2009. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 1-49.
    4. Canice Prendergast, 2003. "The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 929-958, October.
    5. Yeon-Koo Che & Navin Kartik, 2009. "Opinions as Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(5), pages 815-860, October.
    6. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    7. Bentley W. MacLeod, 2003. "Optimal Contracting with Subjective Evaluation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 216-240, March.
    8. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    9. 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.
    10. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
    11. Avinash Dixit, 2002. "# Incentives and Organizations in the Public Sector: An Interpretative Review," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 696-727.
    12. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-472, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hanson, Torbjørn & Lindgren, Petter Y., 2019. "No country for old men? Increasing the retirement age in the Armed Forces," MPRA Paper 95917, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Mishra, Ajit & Sarangi, Sudipta, 2016. "High-powered incentives and communication failure," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 51-60.
    3. Timothy Perri, 2018. "Economics of evaluation (with special reference to promotion and tenure committees)," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 1-19, February.

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