We model career design as a recursive contract design problem in an overlapping generations firm. Agents live two periods. In period 1 they may be hired as employees, paid a wage, and produce output. In period 2 they may be promoted to become joint owners (partners) of the firm, producing no output directly, but setting the rules and receiving the residual income. Professional partnerships, such as the traditional law firm, are often organized like this. Employees are motivated not only by the wage but by the possibility of promotion to the partnership, and the opportunity to set the rules in the next period; the reward structure is thus recursive. The contracts that emerge in this environment are always inefficient. In many circumstances the inefficiency takes the form of “rat-race” contracts that specify very low wages and an inefficiently high level of effort. This conclusion seems to be robust to a range of variations in the environment.
|Date of creation:||2001|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia|
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
Web page: http://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/economics
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Joseph Farrell & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1988.
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 279-297.
- Farrell, Joseph & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1986. "Partnerships," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt49d211x4, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Joseph Farrell and Suzanne Scotchmer., 1986. "Partnerships," Economics Working Papers 8616, University of California at Berkeley.
- Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1991.
"Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
3792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
- Murphy, K.J. & Gibbons, R., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns : Theory and Evidence," Papers 90-09, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
- Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts In The Presence Of Career Concerns: Theory And Evidence," Working papers 563, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Christopher Ferrall, 1996. "Promotions and Incentives in Partnerships: Evidence from Major U.S. Law Firms," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 811-27, November.
- O'Flaherty, Brendan & Siow, Aloysius, 1995.
"Up-or-Out Rules in the Market for Lawyers,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 709-35, October.
- Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
- Jacques Cremer, 1986. "Cooperation in Ongoing Organizations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 33-49.
- Carr, Jack & Mathewson, Frank, 1990. "The Economics of Law Firms: A Study in the Legal Organization of the Firm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 307-30, October.
- Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1997.
"Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 547-81, June.
- Stoughton, Neal M & Talmor, Eli, 1999. "Managerial Bargaining Power in the Determination of Compensation Contracts and Corporate Investment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 69-93, February.
- George Akerlof, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:797. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Katherine Perez)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.