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A repeated principal-agent model with on-the-job search

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  • Herbold, Daniel

Abstract

This paper analyzes how on-the-job search (OJS) by an agent impacts the moral hazard problem in a repeated principal-agent relationship. OJS is found to constitute a source of agency costs because efficient search incentives require that the agent receives all gains from trade. Further, the optimal incentive contract with OJS matches the design of empirically observed compensation contracts more accurately than models that ignore OJS. In particular, the optimal contract entails excessive performance pay plus efficiency wages. Efficiency wages reduce the opportunity costs of work effort and hence serve as a complement to bonuses. Thus, the model offers a novel explanation for the use of efficiency wages. When allowing for renegotiation, the model generates wage and turnover dynamics that are consistent with empirical evidence. I argue that the model contributes to explaining the concomitant rise in the use of performance pay and in competition for high-skill workers during the last three decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Herbold, Daniel, 2014. "A repeated principal-agent model with on-the-job search," SAFE Working Paper Series 64, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:64
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2016. "Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(2), pages 305-370.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Repeated Principal-Agent Model; On-the-Job Search; Moral Hazard; Multitasking; Efficiency Wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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