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Rank Uncertainty in Organizations (with Elliot Lipnowski and Daniel Rappoport)

Microeconomics Seminar 2020-2021
joint with the Département de sciences économiques, Université de Montréal

Organizer : Sean Horan (U. of Montreal)

* Invitation only. Please contact the organizer if you would like access.


RÉSUMÉ : A principal incentivizes a team of agents to work by privately offering them bonuses contingent on team success. We study the principal’s optimal incentive scheme that implements work as a unique equilibrium. This scheme leverages rank uncertainty to address strategic uncertainty. Each agent is informed only of a ranking distribution and his own bonus, the latter making work dominant provided that higher-rank agents work. If agents are symmetric, their bonuses are identical. Thus, discrimination is strictly suboptimal, in sharp contrast with the case of public contracts (Winter, 2004). We characterize how agents’ ranking and compensation vary with asymmetric effort costs.

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