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Incentives in Economic Departments: Testing Tournaments?

Author

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  • Coupé, Tom

    () (EERC, Kiev)

  • Smeets, Valerie

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Warzynski, Frederic

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

Abstract

Existing tests of tournament theory have recently been criticized for their failure to distinguish tournaments from other theories that have similar effects like standards and marginal productivity theory (Gibbs, 1994, 1996; Prendergast, 1999). In this paper, we propose a series of empirical tests that allow to make this distinction. We use a dataset of average wages by rank in US economic departments over the period 1977-1997 and link this information to individual production data to test whether wage gaps affect the productivity and cooperative behavior of economists and to control for marginal productivity theory. We find that the wage gap is increasing along the hierarchy, even when controlling for production by rank. Moreover, wages are more sensitive to productivity for higher ranks. We find some evidence that higher wage gaps lead to higher productivity but not that wage gaps depend on the number of contestants nor that they lead to less cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Coupé, Tom & Smeets, Valerie & Warzynski, Frederic, 2003. "Incentives in Economic Departments: Testing Tournaments?," Working Papers 03-25, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2003_025
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    File URL: http://www.hha.dk/nat/wper/03-25_vasfwa.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    3. Bognanno, Michael L, 2001. "Corporate Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 290-315, April.
    4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
    5. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-280, April.
    6. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
    7. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-580, June.
    8. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1990. "The Incentive Effects of Tournaments Revisited: Evidence from the European PGA Tour," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 74, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tom Coupé & Valérie Smeets & Frédéric Warzynski, 2006. "Incentives, Sorting and Productivity along the Career: Evidence from a Sample of Top Economists," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, pages 137-167.
    2. Majda Benzidia & Michel Lubrano, 2016. "A Bayesian Look at American Academic Wages: The Case of Michigan State University," AMSE Working Papers 1628, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France.
    3. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2004. "Personnel Economics: An Economic Approach to Human Resource Management," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 15(2), pages 215-227.
    4. Michael Rauber & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2008. "Life Cycle and Cohort Productivity in Economic Research: The Case of Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 431-456, November.
    5. Kenneth W. Clements & H. Y. Izan, 2008. "The Stairway to the Top: The Remuneration of Academic Executives," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 33(1), pages 1-30, June.
    6. Bolli, Thomas & Olivares, Maria & Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Daraio, Cinzia & Aracil, Adela Garcia & Lepori, Benedetto, 2016. "The differential effects of competitive funding on the production frontier and the efficiency of universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 91-104.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentives; sorting; tournaments; standards; marginal productivity; economic departments;

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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