IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hol/holodi/0422.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Mixed up? That's good for motivation

Author

Abstract

An essential ingredient in models of career concerns is ex ante uncertainty about an agent’s type. This paper shows how career concerns can arise even in the absence of any such ex ante uncertainty, if the unobservable actions that an agent takes influence his future productivity. By implementing effort in mixed strategies the principal can endogenously induce uncertainty about the agent’s ex post productivity and generate reputational incentives. Our main result is that creating such ambiguity can be optimal for the principal, even though this exposes the agent to additional risk and reduces output. This finding demonstrates the importance of mixed strategies in contracting environments with imperfect commitment, which contrasts with standard agency models where implementing mixed strategy actions typically is not optimal if pure strategies are also implementable.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander K. Koch & Eloic Peyrache, 2004. "Mixed up? That's good for motivation," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 04/22, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Sep 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0422
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/economics/Research/WorkingPapers/pdf/dpe0422.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-483, December.
    2. Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1997. "Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 547-581, June.
    3. Fahad Khalil, 1997. "Auditing Without Commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(4), pages 629-640, Winter.
    4. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1998. "Incomplete Contracts and Strategic Ambiguity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 902-932, September.
    5. Shin Hyun Song, 1994. "The Burden of Proof in a Game of Persuasion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 253-264, October.
    6. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-1098, July.
    7. Emmanuelle Auriol & Guido Friebel & Lambros Pechlivanos, 2002. "Career Concerns in Teams," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 289-307, Part.
    8. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1279-1319, November.
    9. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    10. John Fingleton, 2005. "Career Concerns of Bargainers," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 179-204, April.
    11. 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.
    12. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-1175, September.
    13. Jacques Crémer, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-295.
    14. Koessler, Frederic, 2004. "Strategic knowledge sharing in Bayesian games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 292-320, August.
    15. Borland, Jeff, 1992. " Career Concerns: Incentives and Endogenous Learning in Labour Markets," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 251-270.
    16. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Alexander K. Koch & Eloïc Peyrache, 2011. "Aligning Ambition and Incentives," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 655-688.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentive contracts; reputation; mixed strategies.;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:hol:holodi:0422. 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: (Claire Blackman). General contact details of provider: http://www.rhul.ac.uk/economics/ .

    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 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.

    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.