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Altruism and Relational Incentives in the Workplace

  • Dur, Robert

    ()

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Tichem, Jan

    ()

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

This paper studies how altruism between managers and employees affects relational incentive contracts. To this end we develop a simple dynamic principal-agent model where both players may have feelings of altruism or spite toward each other. The con- tract may contain two types of incentives for the agent to work hard: a bonus and a threat of dismissal. We find that altruism undermines the credibility of a threat of dis- missal but strengthens the credibility of a bonus. Among others, these two mechanisms imply that higher altruism sometimes leads to higher bonuses, while lower altruism may increase productivity and players utility in equilibrium.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7363.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 2015
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7363
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  1. Shchetinin, Oleg, 2010. "Altruism and Career Concerns," Working Papers in Economics 427, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  2. W. Bentley MacLeod & James M. Malcomson, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers 585, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Bull, Clive, 1987. "The Existence of Self-Enforcing Implicit Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 147-59, February.
  4. Daniel M.G. Raff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Did Henry Ford Pay Efficiency Wages?," NBER Working Papers 2101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  6. Giebe, Thomas & Gürtler, Oliver, 2008. "Optimal Contracts for Lenient Supervisors," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 237, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  7. Grund, Christian & Sliwka, Dirk, 2002. "Envy and Compassion in Tournaments," IZA Discussion Papers 647, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, 05.
  9. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2003. "Signaling and Screening of Workers' motivation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1099, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. MacLeod, W.B. & Malcomson, J.M., 1997. "Motivation and markets," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9720, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  11. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2008. "Contractual and Organizational Structurewith Reciprocal Agents," CESifo Working Paper Series 2415, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, 2004. "Trust in Agency," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 375-404, 09.
  13. Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 2293, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2008. "Competition and Relational Contracts: The Role of Unemployment as a Disciplinary Device," IZA Discussion Papers 3345, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-56, November.
  16. Amihai Glazer, 2008. "Optimal Contracts When a Worker Envies His Boss," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 120-137, May.
  17. Arjan Non, 2010. "Gift-Exchange, Incentives, and Heterogeneous Workers," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-008/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 31 May 2011.
  18. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-78, October.
  19. Paula Cordero Salas & Brian E. Roe, 2012. "The Role of Cooperation and Reciprocity in Structuring Carbon Sequestration Contracts in Developing Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 411-418.
  20. Robert Gibbons, 1998. "Incentives in Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 115-132, Fall.
  21. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1999. " Systems of Benevolent Utility Functions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 71-100.
  22. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1983. "The Agent-Agents Problem: Payment by Relative Output," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 50-65, January.
  23. Dur, Robert, 2008. "Gift Exchange in the Workplace: Money or Attention?," IZA Discussion Papers 3839, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
  25. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  26. Jonathan Levin, 2000. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Working Papers 01002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  27. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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