DP4464 Fairness and Incentives in a Multi-Task Principle-Agent Model
|Author(s):||Ernst Fehr, Klaus M. Schmidt|
|Publication Date:||June 2004|
|Keyword(s):||experiments, fairness, incentives, moral hazard, multiple tasks|
|JEL(s):||C70, C90, J30|
|Programme Areas:||Industrial Organization|
|Link to this Page:||www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=4464|
This Paper reports on a two-task principal-agent experiment in which only one task is contractible. The principal can either offer a piece-rate contract or a (voluntary) bonus to the agent. Bonus contracts strongly outperform piece rate contracts. Many principals reward high efforts on both tasks with substantial bonuses. Agents anticipate this and provide high efforts on both tasks. In contrast, almost all agents with a piece-rate contract focus on the first task and disregard the second. Principals understand this and predominantly offer bonus contracts. This behaviour contradicts the self-interest theory but is consistent with theories of fairness.