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Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence

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  • Gibbons, Robert
  • Murphy, Kevin J

Abstract

This paper studies optimal incentive contracts when workers have career concerns--concerns about the effects of current performance on future compensation. The authors show that the optimal compensation contract optimizes total incentives: the combination of the implicit incentives from career concerns and the explicit incentives from the compensation contract. Thus, the explicit incentives from the optimal compensation contract should be strongest for workers close to retirement because career concerns are weakest for these workers. The authors find empirical support for this prediction in the relation between chief-executive compensation and stock-market performance. Copyright 1992 by University of Chicago Press.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:100:y:1992:i:3:p:468-505
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    1. Richard A. Lambert, 1983. "Long-Term Contracts and Moral Hazard," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 441-452, Autumn.
    2. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-1055, December.
    3. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    4. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-431, July.
    5. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
    6. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1988. "Reputation and Hierarchy in Dynamic Models of Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 832-854, August.
    7. Coughlan, Anne T. & Schmidt, Ronald M., 1985. "Executive compensation, management turnover, and firm performance : An empirical investigation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 43-66, April.
    8. Aron, Debra J, 1987. "Worker Reputation and Productivity Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 87-106, October.
    9. David P. Baron & David Besanko, 1987. "Commitment and Fairness in a Dynamic Regulatory Relationship," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 413-436.
    10. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-1175, September.
    11. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Warner, Jerold B., 1979. "On financial contracting : An analysis of bond covenants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 117-161, June.
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