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You Don't Always Get What You Pay For

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  • Schnedler, Wendelin

    () (University of Paderborn)

Abstract

Consider a principal-agent relationship in which more effort by the agent raises the likelihood of success. Does rewarding success, i.e., paying a bonus, increase effort in this case? I find that bonuses have not only an incentive but also an income effect. Overall, bonuses paid for success may well reduce effort and hence the probability of success. I also identify conditions under which the income effect dominates the incentive effect, and single out the hazard-rate of effort as a crucial determinant of this trade-off.

Suggested Citation

  • Schnedler, Wendelin, 2007. "You Don't Always Get What You Pay For," IZA Discussion Papers 3077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3077
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    2. Bewley, Truman F, 1995. "A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 250-254, May.
    3. Steven Shavell, 1979. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 55-73, Spring.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
    6. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
    7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Friebel, Guido & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2011. "Team governance: Empowerment or hierarchical control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13.
    2. Schnedler, Wendelin & Vanberg, Christoph, 2014. "Playing ‘hard to get’: An economic rationale for crowding out of intrinsically motivated behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 106-115.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    moral hazard; bonus; premium; incentives; income effect;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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