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Output and Wages with Inequality Averse Agents

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  • Dominique Demougin
  • Claude Fluet
  • Carsten Helm

Abstract

We analyze a two-task work environment with risk-neutral but inequality averse individuals. For the agent employed in task 2 effort is verifiable, while in task 1 it is not. Accordingly, agent 1 receives an incentive contract which, due to his wealth constraint, leads to a rent that the other agent resents. We show that inequality aversion affects the optimal contracts of both agents. Greater inequality aversion reduces the effort, wage and payoff of agent 1, while the effects on the wage and effort of agent 2 depend on whether effort levels across tasks are substitutes or complements in the firm's output function. However, more inequality aversion unambiguously decreases total output and therefore average labor productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet & Carsten Helm, 2004. "Output and Wages with Inequality Averse Agents," Cahiers de recherche 0419, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0419
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Björn Bartling & Ferdinand A. von Siemens, 2010. "Equal Sharing Rules in Partnerships," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 299-320, June.
    2. Felix Kölle & Dirk Sliwka & Nannan Zhou, 2016. "Heterogeneity, inequity aversion, and group performance," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(2), pages 263-286, February.
    3. Robert Dur & Amihai Glazer, 2004. "Optimal Incentive Contracts when Workers envy their Boss," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-046/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 13 Jun 2006.
    4. Bartling, Björn & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2011. "Wage inequality and team production: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-16, February.
    5. Bartling, Björn & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2010. "The intensity of incentives in firms and markets: Moral hazard with envious agents," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 598-607, June.
    6. Romuald Elie & Dylan Possamai, 2016. "Contracting theory with competitive interacting agents," Papers 1605.08099, arXiv.org.
    7. Markus Brunner & Kai Sandner, 2012. "Social comparison, group composition, and incentive provision," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 41(3), pages 565-602, August.
    8. Bartling, Björn, 2011. "Relative performance or team evaluation? Optimal contracts for other-regarding agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 183-193, August.
    9. Gill, David & Stone, Rebecca, 2015. "Desert and inequity aversion in teams," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 42-54.
    10. Jörg Budde & Matthias Kräkel, 2011. "Limited liability and the risk–incentive relationship," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 102(2), pages 97-110, March.
    11. Kale, Jayant R. & Reis, Ebru & Venkateswaran, Anand, 2014. "Pay inequalities and managerial turnover," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 21-39.
    12. Bose, Arup & Pal, Debashis & Sappington, David E.M., 2010. "Asymmetric treatment of identical agents in teams," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 947-961, October.
    13. Dur, Robert & Sol, Joeri, 2010. "Social interaction, co-worker altruism, and incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 293-301, July.
    14. Grund, Christian & Przemeck, Judith, 2008. "Subjective Performance Evaluation and Inequality Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 3382, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Dubey, Pradeep & Geanakoplos, John, 2010. "Grading exams: 100,99,98,... or A,B,C?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 72-94, May.
    16. Küpper, Hans-Ulrich & Sandner, Kai, 2008. "Differences in Social Preferences - Are They Profitable for the Firm?," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 2122, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
    17. Dominik Erharter, 2013. "Screening Experts' Distributional Preferences," Working Papers 2013-27, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    18. Cato, Susumu & Ebina, Takeshi, 2014. "Inequality aversion in long-term contracts," MPRA Paper 59893, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2005. "Fairness, Adverse Selection, and Employment Contracts," Discussion Papers in Economics 669, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    20. Dominik Erharter, 2012. "Credence goods markets, distributional preferences and the role of institutions," Working Papers 2012-11, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    21. Yingchao Zhang & Oliver Fabel & Christian Thomann, 2015. "Pay inequity effects on back-office employees’ job performances: the case of a large insurance firm," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 23(2), pages 421-439, June.
    22. Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2005. "Fairness, Adverse Selection, and Employment Contracts," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 58, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    23. Kragl, Jenny & Gogova, Martina, 2013. "Wage Bargaining when Workers Have Fairness Concerns," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79790, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    24. Linde, Jona & Sonnemans, Joep, 2015. "Decisions under risk in a social and individual context: The limits of social preferences?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 62-71.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality aversion; wage compression; moral hazard; incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior

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