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Competition and the Ratchet Effect

Author

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  • Gary Charness

    () (Department of Economics, University of California - University of California [Santa Barbara])

  • Peter Kuhn

    (Department of Economics, University of California - University of California [Santa Barbara])

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    () (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

The 'ratchet effect' refers to a situation where a principal uses private information that is revealed by an agent's early actions to the agent's later disadvantage, in a context where binding multi-period contracts are not enforceable. In a simple, context-rich environment, we experimentally study the robustness of the ratchet effect to the introduction of ex post competition for principals or agents. While we do observe substantial and significant ratchet effects in the baseline (no competition) case of our model, we find that ratchet behavior is nearly eliminated by labor-market competition ; interestingly this is true regardless of whether market conditions favor principals or agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2011. "Competition and the Ratchet Effect," Post-Print halshs-00333590, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00333590
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00333590
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2014. "Variable Pay, Industrial Relations and Foreign Ownership: Evidence from Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(3), pages 521-552, September.
    2. Antonio Cabrales & Gary Charness & Marie Villeval, 2011. "Hidden information, bargaining power, and efficiency: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(2), pages 133-159, May.
    3. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert & Non, Arjan & Verbeke, Willem, 2014. "Dynamic incentive effects of relative performance pay: A field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Cardella, Eric & Depew, Briggs, 2016. "Testing for the Ratchet Effect: Evidence from a Real-Effort Work Task," IZA Discussion Papers 9981, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Alberto Bayo-Moriones & Jose E. Galdon-Sanchez & Sara Martinez-de-Morentin, 2017. "Performance Measurement and Incentive Intensity," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 496-546, December.
    6. Socha, Karolina, 2014. "Mixed reimbursement of hospitals: Securing high activity and global expenditures control?," COHERE Working Paper 2014:3, University of Southern Denmark, COHERE - Centre of Health Economics Research.
    7. Ottorino Chillemi & Benedetto Gui & Lorenzo Rocco, 2013. "The value of information disclosure under local learning. The case of fixed types," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0161, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    8. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:182-202 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Uwe Jirjahn, 2016. "Works Councils and Employer Attitudes toward the Incentive Effects of HRM Practices," Research Papers in Economics 2016-07, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ratchet effect; competition; experiment; private information; labor markets;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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