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Inequity Aversion and Team Incentives

  • Pedro Rey-Biel

We study optimal contracts when employees are averse to inequity as modelled by Fehr and Schmidt (1999). A ''selfish'' employer can profitably exploit preferences for equity among his employees by offering contracts which create maximum inequity off-equilibrium and thus, leave employees feeling envy or guilt when they do not produce the optimal output level. We show how the optimal contract is designed such that the subgame played by the employees is dominance solvable, and thus, a unique optimal level of production is implemented. We also discuss conditions for inequity aversion to affect the optimal output choice. Similar results are obtained for other types of distributional preferences such status-seeking or efficiency concerns.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 319.

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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:319
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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2000. "Fairness, incentives, and contractual choices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1057-1068, May.
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  6. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2000. "Reciprocity and wage undercutting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1069-1078, May.
  7. Englmaier, Florian & Achim Wambach, 2003. "Contracts and Inequity Aversion," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 74, Royal Economic Society.
  8. Pedro Rey-Biel, . "Inequity Aversion and Team Incentives," Working Papers 319, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  9. Andreoni,J. & Miller,J.H., 1998. "Analyzing choice with revealed preference : is altruism rational?," Working papers 14, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Jonas Agell, 2004. "Why are Small Firms Different? Managers' Views," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 437-452, October.
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  13. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. " Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 295-307, June.
  14. Pedro Rey Biel & Steffen Huck, 2005. "Endogenous Leadership in Teams," Microeconomics 0506004, EconWPA.
  15. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  16. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, March.
  17. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-1015.
  18. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
  19. Hideshi Itoh, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Other-Regarding Preferences," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 18-45.
  20. 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.
  21. Antonio Cabrales & Antoni Calvó, 2002. "Social preferences and skill segregation," Economics Working Papers 629, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  22. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2003. "Inequity Aversion in Tournament," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-18, CIRANO.
  23. Engelmann Dirk & Strobel Martin, 2002. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," Research Memorandum 015, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  24. Moore, John & Repullo, Rafael, 1988. "Subgame Perfect Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1191-1220, September.
  25. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics Princeton University Press.
  26. Dilip Mookherjee, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 433-446.
  27. David Masclet, 2002. "Peer Pressure in Work Teams : The effects of Inequity Aversion," Post-Print halshs-00178476, HAL.
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