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Optimal Promotion Policies with the Looking-Glass Effect

  • Junichiro Ishida

    (Osaka University)

This article considers a model where the agent is uncertain about his innate ability and instead makes an inference from others' (namely, the principal's) perception, as often emphasized in the psychology literature. When the principal has superior knowledge about the agent's productivity than the agent himself, the principal has an incentive to use promotions strategically to boost the agent's self-confidence. Within this framework the optimal promotion policy depends not only on the agent's current expected ability type but also on the history of his previous job assignments. We use this fact to explain why we rarely observe demotions in organizations.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/506488
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 857-878

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:24:y:2006:i:4:p:857-878
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  2. Fairburn, J.A. & Malcomson, J.M., 2000. "Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle," Economics Series Working Papers 9926, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Hideshi Itoh, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Other-Regarding Preferences," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 18-45.
  4. Fang, Hanming & Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2005. "Morale hazard," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 749-777, May.
  5. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
  6. Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Mechanism Design by an Informed Principal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1767-97, November.
  7. Dan Bernhardt, 1995. "Strategic Promotion and Compensation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 315-339.
  8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
  9. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal: The Case of Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 379-409, March.
  10. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 1999. "A Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics Inside Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1321-1358.
  11. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Why labour market experiments?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 399-406, August.
  12. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
  13. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 2004. "The Peter Principle: A Theory of Decline," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S141-S163, February.
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