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On the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes

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  • Sliwka, Dirk

Abstract

By enriching a principal-agent model it is shown that the introduction of monetary incentives may reduce an agent's motivation. In a first step, we allow for the possibility that some agents stick to unverifiable agreements. The larger the fraction of reliable agents, the lower powered will then be the optimal incentive scheme and fixed wages become optimal when performance measurement is costly. If social norms matter such that some agents' reliability is influenced by their beliefs on the convictions of others, high powered incentives signal that not sticking to agreements is a widespread behavior and may lead to lower effort levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Sliwka, Dirk, 2003. "On the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers 12/2003, University of Bonn, Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bonedp:122003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bjorn Bartling & Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2012. "Screening, Competition, and Job Design: Economic Origins of Good Jobs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 834-864, April.
    2. Oliver Gürtler, 2008. "Implicit contracting with a (potentially) reliable agent," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 177-189, July.
    3. Grout, Paul & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2008. "Non-Profit Organizations in a Bureaucratic Environment," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-17, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    4. Friebel, Guido & Schnedler, Wendelin, 2011. "Team governance: Empowerment or hierarchical control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13.
    5. Wendelin Schnedler & Radovan Vadovic, 2011. "Legitimacy of Control," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 985-1009, December.
    6. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, "undated". "Distrust - The Hidden Cost of Control," IEW - Working Papers 193, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Patricia Crifo & Jean-Louis Rullière, 2004. "Incentives and Anonymity Principle: Crowding Out Toward Users," CESifo Working Paper Series 1316, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Rose, Timothy & Manley, Karen, 2011. "Motivation toward financial incentive goals on construction projects," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(7), pages 765-773, July.
    9. Wendelin Schnedler, 2011. "You Don't Always Get What You Pay For: Bonuses, Perceived Income and Effort," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(1), pages 1-10, February.
    10. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
    11. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
    12. Gürtler, Oliver, 2006. "Implicit Contracts: Two Different Approaches," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 110, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    13. Bruno S. Frey & Margit Osterloh, "undated". "Yes, Managers Should be Paid Like Bureaucrats," IEW - Working Papers 187, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    14. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2012. "Rewarding carrots and crippling sticks: Eliciting employee preferences for the optimal incentive design," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1247-1265.
    15. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2009. "Rewarding Carrots & Crippling Sticks: Eliciting Employee Preferences for the Optimal Incentive Mix in Europe," MPRA Paper 14167, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Bernd Irlenbusch, 2006. "Are non-binding contracts really not worth the paper?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 21-40.
    17. Margit Osterloh & Bruno S. Frey, "undated". "Corporate Governance for Crooks? The Case for Corporate Virtue," IEW - Working Papers 164, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incentives; Intrinsic Motivation; Motivation Crowding-Out; Honesty;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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