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High Compensation Creates a Ratchet Effect

  • Gersbach, Hans

    ()

    (ETH Zurich)

  • Glazer, Amihai

    ()

    (University of California, Irvine)

We consider a firm which pays a worker for his effort over several periods. The more the firm pays in one period, the wealthier the worker is in the following periods, and so the more he must be paid for a given effort. This wealth effect can induce an employer to pay little initially and more later on. For related reasons, the worker may work harder than the employer prefers. The incentive contracts firms offer may therefore cap the worker’s earnings. Lastly, this wealth ratchet effect can induce excessive firing and turnover.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1143.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1143.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2009, 119 (539), 1208 - 1224
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1143
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  1. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," NBER Working Papers 4917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Clark, Andrew E., 1999. "Are wages habit-forming? evidence from micro data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-200, June.
  3. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hilary W. Hoynes, 1995. "Differential Mortality and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 5126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. 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.
  6. Medoff, James L & Abraham, Katharine G, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-36, December.
  7. Aron, Debra J, 1987. "Worker Reputation and Productivity Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages S87-106, October.
  8. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 1996. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," NBER Working Papers 5626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Drew Fudenberg & Bengt Holmstrom & Paul Milgrom, 1987. "Short-Term Contracts and Long-Term Agency Relationships," Working papers 468, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
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  12. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
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