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A Game Theoretical View on Efficiency Wage Theories

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  • Wesselbaum, Dennis

Abstract

The efficiency wage theory developed by Akerlof (1982) assumes observability of effort and the ability of firm and worker to commit on their effort/wage decisions. We show that, from a game theoretical point of view, we have to understand the firm/worker relationship as a repeated Prisoner's dilemma. Therefore, cooperation is per se not a (subgame perfect) Nash equilibrium and hence the Akerlof (1982) theory is based upon an implicit assumption of cooperation, which can not be implemented w.l.o.g.. In addition, we find that this approach is a special case of the Shapiro and Stiglitz (1984) approach and hence unify the two approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Wesselbaum, Dennis, 2009. "A Game Theoretical View on Efficiency Wage Theories," MPRA Paper 18026, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18026
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/18026/1/MPRA_paper_18026.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 2009. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 1-49.
    2. Jean-Pierre Danthine & Andre Kurmann, 2004. "Fair Wages in a New Keynesian Model of the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(1), pages 107-142, January.
    3. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    4. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Donaldson, John B., 1990. "Efficiency wages and the business cycle puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1275-1301, November.
    5. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Efficiency Wage; Prisoner's Dilemma; Repeated Game; Subgame Perfect Nash Equilibrium.;

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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