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Wage Floors and Optimal Job Design

  • Kragl, Jenny
  • Schöttner, Anja

We analyze the effects of lower bounds on wages, e.g., minimum wages or liability limits, on job design within firms. In our model, two tasks contribute to non-verifiable firm value and affect an imperfect performance measure. The tasks can be assigned to either one or two agents. In the absence of a wage floor, it is optimal to assign the tasks to different agents whenever the agents' reservation utility is not too large. Under such a job design, the principal can tailor incentives according to each task's marginal productivity. By contrast, with a relatively large wage floor, the principal gradually lowers effort incentives to avoid rent payments to the agents, even before the wage floor exceeds the agents' reservation utility. If the wage floor is sufficiently large, the principal hires only one agent even though this leads to a distortion of effort across tasks or the non-execution of one task altogether.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis with number 48731.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc11:48731
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Itoh, H., 1996. "Job Design and Incentives in Hierarchies with Team Production," ISER Discussion Paper 0403, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  2. Dube, Andrajit & Lester, T. William & Reich, Michael, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt86w5m90m, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  3. Pedro Portugal & Ana Rute Cardoso, 2006. "Disentangling the Minimum Wage Puzzle: An Analysis of Worker Accessions and Separations," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 988-1013, 09.
  4. Marisa Ratto & Wendelin Schnedler, 2003. "Too few cooks spoil the broth," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/090, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Laux, Christian, 2001. "Limited-Liability and Incentive Contracting with Multiple Projects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 514-26, Autumn.
  6. Manning, Alan, 2011. "Imperfect Competition in the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  7. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 2000. "Contracting with Wealth-Constrained Agents," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 743-67, August.
  8. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  9. Park, Eun-Soo, 1995. "Incentive Contracting under Limited Liability," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 477-90, Fall.
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  11. George Baker, 2002. "Distortion and Risk in Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 728-751.
  12. Wendelin Schnedler, 2008. "When Is It Foolish to Reward for A While Benefiting from B?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 595-619, October.
  13. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," NBER Working Papers 4509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Schmitz, Patrick W, 2005. "Allocating Control in Agency Problems with Limited Liability and Sequential Hidden Actions," CEPR Discussion Papers 5145, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne & Stanger, Shuchita, 1999. "The Highs and Lows of the Minimum Wage Effect: A Time-Series Cross-Section Study of the Canadian Law," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 318-50, April.
  16. Anja Schöttner, 2008. "Relational Contracts, Multitasking, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 138-162, May.
  17. Janet Currie & Bruce Fallick, 1993. "The Minimum Wage and the Employment of Youth: Evidence from the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 4348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
  19. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 2001. "Optimal Contracting with Private Knowledge of Wealth and Ability," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 21-44, January.
  20. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
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  22. Itoh, Hideshi, 1994. "Job design, delegation and cooperation: A principal-agent analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 691-700, April.
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