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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. 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.
  2. Vital Anderhub & Simon Gaechter & Manfred Koenigstein, . "Efficient Contracting and Fair Play in a Simple Principal-Agent Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 018, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Lanse Minkler, 2002. "Shirking and Motivation in Firms: Survey Evidence on Worker Attitudes," Working papers 2002-37, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  9. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  10. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Erica L. Groshen & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The structure of supervision and pay in hospitals," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 134-146, February.
  12. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
  13. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1987. "Carrots and Sticks: Pay, Supervision and Turnover," NBER Working Papers 2176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Neal, Derek, 1993. "Supervision and Wages across Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 409-17, August.
  20. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  21. 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.
  22. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997. "Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  23. Luft, Joan, 1994. "Bonus and penalty incentives contract choice by employees," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 181-206, September.
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