IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Severity vs. Leniency Bias in Performance Appraisal: Experimental evidence

  • Lucia Marchegiani

    ()

    (Rome 3 University)

  • Tommaso Reggiani

    ()

    (University of Cologne)

  • Matteo Rizzolli

    ()

    (Free University of Bozen)

Performance appraisal can be biased in two main ways: lenient supervisors assign pre- dominantly high evaluations (thus rewarding also undeserving agents who have exerted no effort) while severe supervisors assign predominantly low evaluations (thus failing to reward deserving agents who have exerted effort). The principal-agent model with moral hazard predicts that both biases will be equally detrimental to effort provision. We test this prediction with a laboratory experiment and we show that failing to reward deserving agents is significantly more detrimental than rewarding undeserving agents. This finding is compatible with empirical evidence on real world supervisors being preponderantly biased towards lenient appraisals. We discuss our result in the light of alternative economic the- ories of behavior. Our result brings interesting implications for strategic human resource management and personnel economics and contributes to the debate about incentives and organizational performance.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://pro1.unibz.it/projects/economics/repec/bemps01.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen in its series BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series with number BEMPS01.

as
in new window

Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bzn:wpaper:bemps01
Contact details of provider: Postal: VIA SERNESI, 1 - 39100 BOLZANO
Phone: +39 0471 315 000
Fax: +39 0471 315 009
Web page: http://www.unibz.it/en/economics/research/workingpapers/default.html
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Johannes Abeler & Armin Falk & Lorenz Goette & David Huffman, 2009. "Reference Points and Effort Provision," Discussion Papers 2009-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  2. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  3. Christian Grund & Judith Przemeck, 2012. "Subjective performance appraisal and inequality aversion," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(17), pages 2149-2155, June.
  4. Jonathan Levin, 2000. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Working Papers 01002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  5. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion And Seller Behavior: Evidence From The Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260, November.
  6. Monika Schnitzer, 1994. "The Interaction of Explicit and Implicit Contracts," Discussion Paper Serie A 452, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Matteo Rizzolli & Luca Stanca, 2012. "Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 311 - 338.
  8. Francisco J. Gomes, 2005. "Portfolio Choice and Trading Volume with Loss-Averse Investors," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 675-706, March.
  9. Hayashi, Takashi, 2008. "Regret aversion and opportunity dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 242-268, March.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  11. Giebe, Thomas & Gürtler, Oliver, 2008. "Optimal Contracts for Lenient Supervisors," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 237, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  12. Aron, Debra J & Olivella, Pau, 1994. "Bonus and Penalty Schemes as Equilibrium Incentive Devices, with Application to Manufacturing Systems," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, April.
  13. Moers, Frank, 2005. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation: the impact of diversity and subjectivity," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-80, January.
  14. Wendelin Schnedler & Radovan Vadovic, 2007. "Legitimacy of Control," Working Papers 0450, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2007.
  15. Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Petra Nieken, 2010. "On the Choice of Risk and Effort in Tournaments-Experimental Evidence," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 811-840, 09.
  17. David E. Bell, 1983. "Risk Premiums for Decision Regret," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(10), pages 1156-1166, October.
  18. Kaplow, Louis, 1994. "The Value of Accuracy in Adjudication: An Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 307-401, January.
  19. Bentley MacLeod, 2001. "Optimal Contracting with Subjective Evaluation," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000036, UCLA Department of Economics.
  20. Gul, Faruk, 1991. "A Theory of Disappointment Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 667-86, May.
  21. Canice Prendergast & Robert H. Topel, 1993. "Favoritism in Organizations," NBER Working Papers 4427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Anja Sautmann, 2013. "Contracts for Agents with Biased Beliefs: Some Theory and an Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 124-56, August.
  23. Bull, Clive, 1987. "The Existence of Self-Enforcing Implicit Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 147-59, February.
  24. W. Bentley MacLeod & James M. Malcomson, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers 585, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  25. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  26. Thiele, Veikko, 2007. "Subjective Performance Evaluation and Collusion," MPRA Paper 2472, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  27. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert, 1993. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 355-365, April.
  28. Caplan, Arthur J. & Aadland, David & Macharia, Anthony, 2010. "Estimating Hypothetical Bias in Economically Emergent Africa: A Generic Public Good Experiment," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 39(2), April.
  29. Oliver Gürtler & Christine Harbring, 2010. "Feedback in Tournaments under Commitment Problems: Experimental Evidence," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 771-810, 09.
  30. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," NBER Working Papers 6957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  32. Alexander Sebald & Markus Walzl, 2014. "Subjective Performance Evaluations and Reciprocity in Principal–Agent Relations," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(2), pages 570-590, 04.
  33. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Why labour market experiments?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 399-406, August.
  34. Strausz, R.G., 1995. "Collusion and Renegotiation in a Principal-Supervisor-Agent Relationship," Discussion Paper 1995-48, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  35. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
  36. Pearce, David G. & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1998. "The Interaction of Implicit and Explicit Contracts in Repeated Agency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 75-96, April.
  37. Robert Gibbons, 1998. "Incentives in Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 115-132, Fall.
  38. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  39. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
  40. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  41. Ederer, Florian & Manso, Gustavo, 2009. "Is Pay-For-Performance Detrimental to Innovation?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt03t787q9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  42. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bzn:wpaper:bemps01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (bemps administrator)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.