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Money and Status: How Best to Incentivize Work

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  • Pradeep Dubey
  • John Geanakoplos

Abstract

Status is greatly valued in the real world, yet it has not received much attention from economic theorists. We examine how the owner of a firm can best combine money and status to get her employees to work hard for the least total cost. We find that she should motivate workers of low skill mostly by status and high skill mostly by money. Moreover, she should do so by using a small number of titles and wage levels. This often results in star wages to the elite performers and, more generally, in wage jumps for small increases in productivity. By analogy, the governance of a society should pay special attention to the status concerns of ordinary citizens, which may often be accomplished by reinforcing suitable social norms.
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Suggested Citation

  • Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos, 2016. "Money and Status: How Best to Incentivize Work," Department of Economics Working Papers 16-02, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:16-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
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    3. Alexis Direr, 2001. "Interdependent Preferences and Aggregate Saving," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 63-64, pages 297-308.
    4. 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.
    5. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Ori Haimanko, 2013. "Prizes Versus Wages With Envy And Pride," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 98-121, March.
    6. Milton Friedman, 1953. "Choice, Chance, and the Personal Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 277-277.
    7. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Ivan Werning, 2005. "The Equilibrium Distribution of Income and the Market for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 282-310, April.
    8. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
    9. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-857, July.
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    11. Emmanuelle Auriol & Régis Renault, 2008. "Status and incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 305-326.
    12. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279-279.
    13. Cohen Chen & Sela Aner, 2007. "Contests with Ties," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-18, December.
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    15. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12479 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Evangelos V. Dioikitopoulos & Stephen J. Turnovsky & Roland Wendner, 2017. "Dynamic Status Effects, Savings, and Income Inequality," Graz Economics Papers 2017-08, University of Graz, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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