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Incentive Hierarchies

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  • Auriol, Emmanuelle
  • Renault, Régis

Abstract

Because much of work incentives are provided through promotions, their effectiveness depends to a large extent on the structure of the organization's hierarchy. Here, we investigate the impact of the incentive motive on the optimal hierarchy using the Auriol-Renault [2000] framework which highlights the role of recognition in the work place. This framework provides a rationale for using promotions as an incentive device which relies on a complementarity between recognition and income: those who earn more should also earn more recognition. We identify factors which affect the hierarchy in terms of number of ranks, population size at each rank and the extent of the differentiation between ranks. We show that the harder it is for an employee to improve performance through effort the more pyramid-like is the hierarchy, with a small group of successful individuals at the top earning high income and recognition. If a high performance may be easily achieved, a seniority based promotion system may be optimal.
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Suggested Citation

  • Auriol, Emmanuelle & Renault, Régis, 2000. "Incentive Hierarchies," IDEI Working Papers 105, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2001.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:783
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2008. "Awards: A view from psychological economics," IEW - Working Papers 357, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2007. "Paying Respect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 135-150, Fall.
    3. Fershtman, Chaim & Hvide, Hans K & Weiss, Yoram, 2003. "Cultural Diversity, Status Concerns and the Organization of Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 3982, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Friebel, Guido & von Bieberstein, Frauke, 2016. "The firm as the locus of social comparisons: Standard promotion practices versus up-or-out," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 41-59.

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