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When to Pay More: Incentives, Culture and Status in Principal‐ Agent Interactions

  • Dessi, Roberta
  • Miquel-Florensa, Josepa

We study the role of status in an experimental Principal-Agent game.Status is awarded to subjects based on either talent or luck. In each randomly matched principal-agent pair, the principal chooses the agent's status-contingent piece rate for a task in which talent matters for performance (an IQ test). We perform the experiment in Cambridge (UK) and in HCMV (Vietnam). We find that in Cambridge piece rate others are significantly higher for high-status agents (only) when status signals talent. However, these higher offers are not payoff-maximizing for the principals.In contrast, Vietnam piece rate offers are significantly higher for high-status agents (only) when status is determined by luck. We explore possible explanations, and the implications for status and incentives.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 13-413.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:27275
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  1. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Renault, Régis, 2007. "Status and Incentives," IDEI Working Papers 451, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2011. "Competitive Preferences and Status as an Incentive: Experimental Evidence," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-07, CIRANO.
  3. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
  6. Catherine Eckel & Rick Wilson, 2007. "Social learning in coordination games: does status matter?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 317-329, September.
  7. Andrea Patacconi & Florian Ederer, 2005. "Interpersonal Comparison, Status and Ambition in Organisations," Economics Series Working Papers 222, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Kosfeld, Michael & Neckermann, Susanne, 2010. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 5040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status in Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188.
  10. Ball, Sheryl & Eckel, Catherine C., 1998. "The Economic Value of Status," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 495-514.
  11. Weiss, Y. & Fershtman, C., 1997. "Social Status and Economic Performance: A Survey," Papers 19-97, Tel Aviv.
  12. Andrew Postlewaite, . ""The Social Basis of Interdependent Preferences''," CARESS Working Papres 97-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  13. Lise Vesterlund & Cagri Kumru, 2005. "The Effects of Status on Voluntary Contribution," Working Papers 266, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  14. Falk, Armin & Zehnder, Christian, 2013. "A city-wide experiment on trust discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 15-27.
  15. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2008. "Status Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 206-11, May.
  16. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2007. "Paying Respect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 135-150, Fall.
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