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Career Concerns and Market Structure

  • Alessandro Bonatti
  • Johannes Horner

This paper analyzes the impact of market structure on career concerns. Effort increases the probability that a skilled agent achieves a one-time breakthrough. Wages are based on assessed ability and on expected output. For any wage, the agent works too little, too late. Under short-term contracts, effort and wages are single-peaked with seniority, due to the strategic substitutability of effort levels at different times. Both delay and underprovision of effort worsen if effort is observable. Commitment to wages by competing firms mitigates these inefficiencies. In that case, the optimal contract features piecewise constant wages and severance pay.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000929.

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Date of creation: 24 Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000929
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  2. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . ""Who Wants a Good Reputation?''," CARESS Working Papres 98-12, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  3. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353892, HAL.
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  5. Murphy, K.J. & Gibbons, R., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns : Theory and Evidence," Papers 90-09, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  6. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrich Hege, 2001. "The Financing of Innovation: Learning and Stopping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1292R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Oct 2004.
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  8. Malcomson, James M. & Maw, James W. & McCormick, Barry, 2003. "General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 197-227, April.
  9. Suman Ghosh & Michael Waldman, 2010. "Standard promotion practices versus up-or-out contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(2), pages 301-325.
  10. Robert H. Topel, 1990. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," NBER Working Papers 3294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  12. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  13. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
  14. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
  15. Chisholm, Darlene C, 1997. "Profit-Sharing versus Fixed-Payment Contracts: Evidence from the Motion Pictures Industry," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 169-201, April.
  16. Richard E. Caves, 2003. "Contracts Between Art and Commerce," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 73-83, Spring.
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