Performance Incentives with Award Constraints
This paper studies the provision of incentives in a large government organization that is divided into independent pools of agencies. Each pool distributes performance awards to the agencies it supervises, subject to two constraints: the awards cannot be negative and the sum of the awards cannot exceed a fixed budget. The theory shows that the constraints on the award distribution bind for pools that are heterogeneous enough, resulting in inefficiencies. The empirical analysis presents conflicting evidence in light of the theory. A possible explanation is that the award designers may have additional objectives in addition to effort maximization.
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