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Performance Measurement, Expectancy and Agency Theory: An Experimental Study

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  • Sloof, Randolph

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • van Praag, Mirjam C.

    (Copenhagen Business School)

Abstract

Theoretical analyses of (optimal) performance measures are typically performed within the realm of the linear agency model. This model implies that, for a given compensation scheme, the agent’s optimal effort is unrelated to the amount of noise in the performance measure. In contrast, expectancy theory as developed by psychologists predicts lower effort levels for noisier performance measures. We conduct a real effort laboratory experiment and find that effort levels are invariant to changes in the distribution of the noise term, i.e. to expectancy. This suggests that enriching the economic (linear agency) model commonly applied within this area by including an expectancy parameter is not needed.

Suggested Citation

  • Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2007. "Performance Measurement, Expectancy and Agency Theory: An Experimental Study," IZA Discussion Papers 3064, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3064
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    Cited by:

    1. Zubanov, N.V., 2012. "Risk Aversion and Effort in an Incentive Pay Scheme with Multiplicative Noise: Theory and Experimental Evidence," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2012-005-STR, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    2. Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, C. Mirjam, 2010. "The effect of noise in a performance measure on work motivation: A real effort laboratory experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 751-765, October.
    3. Jacob Zureich, 2023. "The (Un)Controllability Principle: The Benefits of Holding Employees Accountable for Uncontrollable Factors," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 653-690, May.
    4. Michele Battisti & Giovanna Vallanti, 2011. "Flexible Wage Contracts, Temporary Jobs and Worker Performance: Evidence from Italian Firms," Working Papers CELEG 1105, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    5. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Alexandros Karakostas, 2020. "An experimental investigation of the ‘tenuous trade-off’ between risk and incentives in organizations," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 153-190, February.
    6. Emanuela Lezzi & Piers Fleming & Daniel John Zizzo, 2015. "Does it matter which effort task you use? A comparison of four effort tasks when agents compete for a prize," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 15-05, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    7. Randolph Sloof & C. Mirjam van Praag, 2008. "The Effect of Noise in a Performance Measure on Work Motivation," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-074/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Francesca Magli & Alberto Nobolo & Matteo Ogliari, 2017. "Alternative Performance Measures and ESMA Guidelines: Improving Stakeholders’ Communication," International Journal of Business and Management, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 12(12), pages 1-15, November.
    9. Zubanov, Nick & Cadsby, Bram & Song, Fei, 2017. "The," IZA Discussion Papers 10542, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Bonsang, Eric & Dohmen, Thomas, 2015. "Risk attitude and cognitive aging," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 112-126.
    11. Michele Battisti & Giovanna Vallanti, 2013. "Flexible Wage Contracts, Temporary Jobs, and Firm Performance: Evidence From Italian Firms," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 737-764, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    performance measurement; expectancy theory; real effort experiments; agency theory; personnel economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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