Incentives in Organizations
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 12, No. 4, Fall 1998
Posted: 22 Dec 1998
In this paper I summarize four new strands in agency theory that help me think about incentives in real organizations. As a point of departure, I begin with a quick sketch of the classic agency model. I then discuss static models of objective performance measurement in which firms get what they pay for; repeated-game models of subjective performance assessments; incentives for skill development rather than simply for effort; and incentive contracts between versus within organizations. I conclude by suggesting two avenues for further progress in agency theory: better integration with organizational economics, as launched by Coase and reinvigorated by Williamson, and cross-pollination with other fields that study organizations, including industrial relations, organizational sociology, and social psychology.
JEL Classification: J33, J41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation