IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/journl/halshs-00949392.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Competition and the Ratchet Effect

Author

Listed:
  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon)

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.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Competition and the Ratchet Effect," Post-Print halshs-00949392, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00949392
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00949392
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 2009. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 1-49.
    2. Xavier Freixas & Roger Guesnerie & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Planning under Incomplete Information and the Ratchet Effect," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 173-191.
    3. Carmichael, H Lorne & MacLeod, W Bentley, 2000. "Worker Cooperation and the Ratchet Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-19, January.
    4. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, July.
    5. Antonio Cabrales & Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Competition, Hidden Information and Efficiency: An Experiment," Post-Print halshs-00175051, HAL.
    6. Roland, Gerard & Sekkat, Khalid, 2000. "Managerial career concerns, privatization and restructuring in transition economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1857-1872, December.
    7. Gibbons, Robert, 1987. "Piece-Rate Incentive Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 413-429, October.
    8. S. Bucovetsky, 2003. "Efficient Migration and Income Tax Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(2), pages 249-278, April.
    9. Barry W. Ickes & Larry Samuelson, 1987. "Job Transfers and Incentives in Complex Organizations: Thwarting the Ratchet Effect," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 275-286, Summer.
    10. John M. Litwack, 1993. "Coordination, Incentives, and the Ratchet Effect," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 271-285, Summer.
    11. Martin L. Weitzman, 1980. "The "Ratchet Principle" and Performance Incentives," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 302-308, Spring.
    12. David J. Cooper, 1999. "Gaming against Managers in Incentive Systems: Experimental Results with Chinese Students and Chinese Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 781-804, September.
    13. Choi, Jay Pil & Thum, Marcel, 2003. "The dynamics of corruption with the ratchet effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 427-443, March.
    14. Kanemoto, Yoshitsugu & MacLeod, W Bentley, 1992. "The Ratchet Effect and the Market for Secondhand Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(1), pages 85-98, January.
    15. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 183-198.
    16. Marie Claire Villeval, 2007. "Competition, Hidden Information, and Efficiency," Post-Print halshs-00257907, HAL.
    17. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-1175, September.
    18. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Optimal Contracts with Lock-In," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 51-68, March.
    19. Dalen, Dag Morten, 1995. "Efficiency-improving investment and the ratchet effect," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1511-1522, October.
    20. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    21. Chaudhuri, Ananish, 1998. "The ratchet principle in a principal agent game with unknown costs: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, November.
    22. Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2008. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours among U.S. Men, 1979-2006," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 311-343, April.
    23. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743.
    24. Dearden, James & Ickes, Barry W & Samuelson, Larry, 1990. "To Innovate or Not to Innovate: Incentives and Innovation in Hierarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1105-1124, December.
    25. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    26. Dillen, Mats & Lundholm, Michael, 1996. "Dynamic income taxation, redistribution, and the ratchet effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 69-93, January.
    27. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 183-198.
    28. Puller, Steven L., 2006. "The strategic use of innovation to influence regulatory standards," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 690-706, November.
    29. Allen, Douglas W. & Lueck, Dean, 1999. "Searching For Ratchet Effects In Agricultural Contracts," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 24(2), pages 1-17, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Cardella, Eric & Depew, Briggs, 2016. "Testing for the Ratchet Effect: Evidence from a Real-Effort Work Task," IZA Discussion Papers 9981, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Cardella, Eric & Depew, Briggs, 2018. "Output restriction and the ratchet effect: Evidence from a real-effort work task," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 182-202.
    3. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    4. Bhaskar, Venkataraman, 2014. "The Ratchet Effect Re-examined: A Learning Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 9956, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. 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.
    6. Antonio Cabrales & Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Competition, Hidden Information and Efficiency: An Experiment," Post-Print halshs-00175051, HAL.
    7. Roland, Gerard & Sekkat, Khalid, 2000. "Managerial career concerns, privatization and restructuring in transition economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1857-1872, December.
    8. Bruce S. Shearer, 2022. "Piece‐rate cuts and ratchet effects," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(3), pages 1371-1403, August.
    9. Kornai, János & Maskin, Eric & Roland, Gérard, 2004. "A puha költségvetési korlát - II [The soft budget constraint II]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 777-809.
    10. Bhaskar, V. & Mailath, George J., 2019. "The curse of long horizons," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 74-89.
    11. David J. Cooper, 1999. "Gaming against Managers in Incentive Systems: Experimental Results with Chinese Students and Chinese Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 781-804, September.
    12. Wei, Chen, 2020. "Can job rotation eliminate the Ratchet effect: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 66-84.
    13. Kornai, János & Maskin, Eric & Roland, Gérard, 2022. "A puha költségvetési korlát - II [The soft budget constraint II]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 94-132.
    14. Neary, Hugh M., 2001. "Dynamic consistency in incentive planning with a material input," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 315-332, March.
    15. Jeitschko, Thomas D. & Withers, John A., 2019. "Dynamic regulation revisited: Signal dampening, experimentation and the ratchet effect," DICE Discussion Papers 318, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    16. Currie, David & Levine, Paul L & Rickman, Neil, 1999. "Delegation and the Ratchet Effect: Should Regulators Be Pro-Industry?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2274, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 12.
    18. Charles Bellemare & Bruce Shearer, 2014. "Measuring Ratchet Effects within a Firm: Evidence from a Field Experiment varying Contractual Commitment," Cahiers de recherche 1401, Centre de recherche sur les risques, les enjeux économiques, et les politiques publiques.
    19. Cabrales, Antonio & Charness, Gary, 2011. "Optimal contracts with team production and hidden information: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 163-176, February.
    20. Bernard, Mark & Dohmen, Thomas & Non, Arjan & Rohde, Ingrid M.T., 2019. "Menus of contracts determine sorting patterns," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 293-311.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ratchet effect; competition; experiment; private information; labor markets;
    All these keywords.

    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

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00949392. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: CCSD (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.