Discussion paper

DP13828 Motivating employees through career paths

Firms have discretion over task allocations, which may dampen employees’ career prospects, and, hence, motivation. Task assignments and worker motivation interact through the extent of labor market competition; that is, the possibility of moving to another firm. More competition enhances motivation but decreases firms’ incentives to assign workers to informative tasks. One consequence is that competitive firms sometimes choose strategies that lead to intermediate competition. When the employee pool is heterogeneous, firms might choose different human resources practices that attract different kinds of workers, and differentiate themselves through the career opportunities within and beyond the firms that they offer.


Bar-Isaac, H and R Levy (2019), ‘DP13828 Motivating employees through career paths‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13828. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13828