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Uncertainty, Pay for Performance and Adverse Selection in a Competitive Labor Market

  • Felipe Balmaceda

    ()

This paper develops a new rationale for the emergence of pay-for-performance contracts. The labor market is competitive, workers are risk averse and firms risk neutral. The paper shows that in stable environments more productive workers self-select into pay-for-performance jobs because risk is less costly to them than to their less productive counterparts which prefer fixed-salary contracts. When uncertainty is sufficiently large a pooling equilibrium emerges in which all workers have pay-for-performance contracts, thereby reducing more productive workers’ costs of being pooled with less productive workers. The model explains several empirical regularities unaccounted for by alternative models, such as markets where all observed contracts involve pay-for-performance, and also that such markets are more likely to emerge in highly uncertain environments.

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File URL: http://www.dii.uchile.cl/~cea/sitedev/cea/www/download.php?file=documentos_trabajo/ASOCFILE120041007095927.pdf
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Paper provided by Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 196.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:edj:ceauch:196
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dii.uchile.cl/cea/
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  1. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1996. "Comparative Advantage, Information and the Allocation of Workers to Tasks: Evidence from an Agricultural Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 347-74, July.
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  5. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
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  8. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  9. Rosenthal, Robert W & Weiss, Andrew, 1984. "Mixed-Strategy Equilibrium in a Market with Asymmetric Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 333-42, April.
  10. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
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  12. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
  13. Herschel I. Grossman, 1979. "Adverse Selection, Dissembling, and Competitive Equilibrium," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 336-343, Spring.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "The Power of Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 410-414, May.
  15. Hellwig, Martin, 1987. "Some recent developments in the theory of competition in markets with adverse selection ," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 319-325.
  16. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  18. Matutes, Carmen & Regibeau, Pierre & Rockett, Katharine, 1994. "Compensation Schemes and Labor Market Competition: Piece Rate versus Wage Rate," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 325-53, Summer.
  19. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret E. Slade, 1998. "Incentive Contracting and the Franchise Decision," NBER Working Papers 6544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  21. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
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