IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The intrinsic inferiority of efficiency wages to damages and conditional bonuses

  • Gerrit de Geest
  • G. Dari Mattiacci
  • J.J. Siegers

In this paper, we argue that, as an enforcement mechanism, efficiency wages are intrinsically inferior to damages and to conditional bonuses an alternative positive sanction system overlooked in the labor economics literature, under which rents are only paid if monitoring has effectively taken place (and the employee is not found shirking). While all three alternatives succeed in incentivizing agents and satisfy the participation constraint of non-shirking employees, damages (and negative sanctions in general) do so at lower costs because they do not require the payment of any rents. Of the two positive sanction systems, conditional bonuses are less expensive than efficiency wages because the latter also pay rents when no monitoring has taken place and may allow employees who are found shirking to keep some rents. Moreover, we find that monitoring levels are inefficiently low under efficiency wages. While efficiency wages (if they are completely non-retroactive) remove the employer s incentive to falsely sanction the employee, they solve this appropriation problem in a less rational way than some decoupling mechanisms that can be used under damages and conditional bonus regimes. Therefore, it seems extremely unlikely that employers would ever opt for efficiency wages on such a massive scale that structural unemployment would result, as Shapiro and Stiglitz (1984) suggested.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/7261/04-15.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04-15.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0415
Contact details of provider: Postal: P.O. Box 80125, NL-3508 TC Utrecht
Phone: +31 30 253 9800
Fax: +31 30 253 7373
Web page: http://www.uu.nl/EN/faculties/leg/organisation/schools/schoolofeconomicsuse/Pages/default.aspxEmail:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  2. Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The optimal level of corporate liability given the limited ability of corporations to penalize their employees," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 203-213, June.
  3. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1985. "Can Unemployment Be Involuntary? Reply [Equilibrium Unemployemnt as a Worker Discipline Device]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1215-17, December.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "Corruption and Optimal Law Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 6945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," NBER Working Papers 3634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  8. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  9. Rasmusen, Eric, 1992. "An Income-Satiation Model of Efficiency Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 467-78, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0415. 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: (Marina Muilwijk)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.