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Implicit vs. Explicit Incentives: Theory and a Case Study

Author

Listed:
  • Dominique Demougin
  • Oliver Fabel
  • Christian Thomann

Abstract

We derive the optimal contract between a principal and a liquidity-constrained agent in a stochastically repeated environment. The contract comprises a court-enforceable explicit bonus rule and an implicit fixed salary promise that must be self-enforcing. Since the agent’s rent increases with bonus pay, the principal implements the maximum credible salary promise. Thus, the bonus increases while the salary promise and the agent’s effort decrease with a higher probability of premature contract termination. We subject this mechanism to econometric testing using personnel data of an insurance company. The empirical results strongly support our theoretical predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Demougin & Oliver Fabel & Christian Thomann, 2009. "Implicit vs. Explicit Incentives: Theory and a Case Study," CESifo Working Paper Series 2645, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2645
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2645.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. J. David Cummins & Neil A. Doherty, 2006. "The Economics of Insurance Intermediaries," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 73(3), pages 359-396.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jörg Budde & Matthias Kräkel, 2011. "Limited liability and the risk–incentive relationship," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 102(2), pages 97-110, March.
    2. Michael Funke & Marc Gronwald, 2009. "A Convex Hull Approach to Counterfactual Analysis of Trade Openness and Growth," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20906, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    implicit contract; explicit bonus pay; premature contract termination; compensation and productivity estimates;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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