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Monitoring and Pay: An Experiment on Employee Performance under Endogenous Supervision

We present an experimental test of a shirking model where monitoring intensity is endogenous and effort a continuous variable. Wage level, monitoring intensity and consequently the desired enforceable effort level are jointly determined by the maximization problem of the firm. As a result, monitoring and pay should be complements. In our experiment, between and within treatment variation is qualitatively in line with the normative predictions of the model under selfishness assumptions. Yet, we also find evidence for reciprocal behavior. The data analysis shows, however, that it does not pay for the employer to rely on the reciprocity of employees.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2006-23.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-23
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  1. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
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  4. Neal, Derek, 1993. "Supervision and Wages across Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 409-17, August.
  5. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 1998. "An Empirical Framework for Testing Theories About Complimentarity in Organizational Design," NBER Working Papers 6600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Alexander Klein & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "Fairness, Incentives and Contractual Incompleteness," IEW - Working Papers 072, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1987. "Carrots and Sticks: Pay, Supervision, and Turnover," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages S136-52, October.
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  9. Minkler, Lanse, 2004. "Shirking and motivations in firms: survey evidence on worker attitudes," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 863-884, June.
  10. Allgulin, Magnus & Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Monitoring and Pay," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 245, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 22 Nov 1999.
  11. Kirchler, Erich & Fehr, Ernst & Evans, Robert, 1996. "Social exchange in the labor market: Reciprocity and trust versus egoistic money maximization," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 313-341, June.
  12. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  13. Erica L. Groshen & Alan B. Krueger, 1989. "The structure of supervision and pay in hospitals," Working Paper 8907, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  14. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
  15. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  16. R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
  17. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  18. Rebitzer, James B., 1995. "Is there a trade-off between supervision and wages? An empirical test of efficiency wage theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 107-129, September.
  19. Keser, Claudia & Willinger, Marc, 2000. "Principals' principles when agents' actions are hidden," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 163-185, January.
  20. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  21. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  22. Luft, Joan, 1994. "Bonus and penalty incentives contract choice by employees," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 181-206, September.
  23. Eaton, Curtis & White, William D, 1983. "The Economy of High Wages: An Agency Problem," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(198), pages 175-81, May.
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