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Are Efficiency Wages Efficient?

Author

Listed:
  • William T. Dickens
  • Lawrence F. Katz
  • Kevin Lang

Abstract

Efficiency wage models have been criticized because worker malfeasance can be prevented in a pareto efficient manner by requiring workers to post a bond which they lose if they are caught cheating. However, since it is costly to monitor workers and costless to demand a larger bond, firms should pay nothing for monitoring and demand very large bonds. Since we observe that firms devote considerable resources to monitoring workers, bonds must be limited. Therefore firms must use second best alternatives -- intensive monitoring and/or efficiency wages. The payment of efficiency wages cannot be ruled out on a priori theoretical grounds.

Suggested Citation

  • William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin Lang, 1986. "Are Efficiency Wages Efficient?," NBER Working Papers 1935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1935
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Efficiency Wage Theories: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 235-290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Georgiadis, Andreas, 2008. "Efficiency wages and the economic effects of the minimum wage: evidence from a low-wage labour market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19628, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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