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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
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7363
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  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-78, October.
  10. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1993. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," NBER Working Papers 4480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Jonathan Levin, 2003. "Relational Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 835-857, June.
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  14. Robert Dur, 2008. "Gift Exchange in the Workplace: Money or Attention?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2496, CESifo Group Munich.
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  16. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
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  19. Non, Arjan, 2012. "Gift-exchange, incentives, and heterogeneous workers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 319-336.
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  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. 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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