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The Rise of Individual Performance Pay

  • Ola Kvaloy
  • Trond Olsen

Why does individual performance pay seem to prevail in human capital intensive industries? We present a model that may explain this. In a repeated game model of relational contracting, we analyze the conditions for implementing peer dependent incentive regimes when agents possess indispensable human capital. We show that the larger the share of values that the agents can hold-up, the lower is the implementable degree of peer dependent incentives. In a setting with team effects — complementary tasks and peer pressure, respectively — we show that while team-based incentives are optimal if agents are dispensable, it may be costly, and in fact suboptimal, to provide team incentives once the agents become indispensable.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2145.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2145
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  1. Charles Brown, 1990. "Firms' choice of method of pay," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 165-182, February.
  2. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
  3. Bentley W. MacLeod, 2003. "Optimal Contracting with Subjective Evaluation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 216-240, March.
  4. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
  5. Yeon-Koo Che & Seung-Weon Yoo, 2001. "Optimal Incentives for Teams," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 525-541, June.
  6. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  8. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Maija Halonen, 2002. "Reputation And The Allocation Of Ownership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 539-558, July.
  11. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J. David, 1993. "Moral hazard with several agents : The gains from cooperation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 73-100, March.
  12. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L., 2001. "Deunionization, technical change and inequality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 229-264, December.
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  17. Jerry R. Green & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
  19. Grund, Christian & Sliwka, Dirk, 2007. "Individual and Job-Based Determinants of Performance Appraisal: Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  21. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  22. Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley Macleod & Daniel Parent, 2006. "Performance Pay And Wage Inequality," Departmental Working Papers 2006-08, McGill University, Department of Economics.
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  24. 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 841-64, October.
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  26. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
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  30. repec:oup:restud:v:51:y:1984:i:3:p:433-46 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  32. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-1156.
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  36. Richard Blundell & Lorraine Dearden & Costas Meghir & Barbara Sianesi, 1999. "Human capital investment: the returns from education and training to the individual, the firm and the economy," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(1), pages 1-23, March.
  37. Steven Tadelis & Jonathan Levin, 2004. "Profit Sharing and the Role of Professional Partnerships," 2004 Meeting Papers 156, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  38. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  39. Barry J. Nalebuff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Prices and Incentives: Towards a General Theory of Compensation and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 21-43, Spring.
  40. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
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