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Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives

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  • Meyer, Margaret A
  • Vickers, John

Abstract

It is well known that comparative performance information can enhance efficiency in static principal-agent relationships by improving the trade-off between insurance and incentives in the design of explicit contracts. In dynamic settings, however, there may be implicit as well as explicit incentives, for example, managerial career concerns and the ratchet effects in regulation. The authors show that the dynamic effects of comparative performance information on implicit incentives can either reinforce or oppose the familiar (static) insurance effect and in either case can be more important for efficiency. The overall welfare effects of comparative performance information are thus ambiguous and can be characterized in terms of the underlying information structure. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1997. "Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 547-581, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:3:p:547-81
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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. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
    4. Xavier Freixas & Roger Guesnerie & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Planning under Incomplete Information and the Ratchet Effect," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 173-191.
    5. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, January.
    6. Meyer, Margaret A., 1995. "Cooperation and competition in organizations: A dynamic perspective," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 709-722, April.
    7. Barry W. Ickes & Larry Samuelson, 1987. "Job Transfers and Incentives in Complex Organizations: Thwarting the Ratchet Effect," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 275-286, Summer.
    8. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1995. "Corporate Conservatism and Relative Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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