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Promotion Tournaments and Individual Performance Pay

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  • Anja Schöttner
  • Veikko Thiele

Abstract

We analyze the optimal combination of promotion tournaments and individual performance pay in an employment relationship. An agent's effort is non-observable and he has private information about his suitability for promotion. We find that the principal does not provide individual incentives if it is sufficiently important to promote the most suitable candidate. Thus, we give a possible explanation for why individual performance schemes are less often observed in practice than predicted by theory. Furthermore, optimally trading off incentive and selection issues causes a form of the Peter Principle: The less suitable agent has an inefficiently high probability of promotion.

Suggested Citation

  • Anja Schöttner & Veikko Thiele, 2007. "Promotion Tournaments and Individual Performance Pay," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-045, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2007-045
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    Cited by:

    1. Migheli, Matteo, 2019. "Competing for promotion: Are “THE BEST” always the best?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 149-161.
    2. Spencer Bastani & Thomas Giebe & Oliver Gürtler, 2019. "A General Framework for Studying Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 7993, CESifo.
    3. Tom Ahn & Jason Niven & Andrew Veilleux, 2021. "How long have you been waiting? Explaining the role of irrelevant information in the promotion of U.S. Navy officers," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 41(2), pages 604-614.
    4. Kvaløy, Ola & Schöttner, Anja, 2015. "Incentives to motivate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 26-42.
    5. Kräkel, Matthias & Schöttner, Anja, 2008. "Relative Performance Pay, Bonuses, and Job-Promotion Tournaments," IZA Discussion Papers 3702, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Kräkel, Matthias & Schöttner, Anja, 2012. "Internal labor markets and worker rents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 491-509.
    7. Jed DeVaro & Oliver Gürtler, 2020. "Strategic shirking in competitive labor markets: A general model of multi‐task promotion tournaments with employer learning," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 335-376, April.
    8. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2011. "Does Wage Dispersion Make All Firms Productive?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 455-489, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Promotion Tournaments; Piece Rates; Hidden Characteristics; Hidden Action;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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