An Economic Analysis of the Peter and Dilbert Principles

UTS Working Paper No. 101

18 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2000

Date Written: January 2000


The paper discusses how the Peter and Dilbert Principles can occur and what are the consequences for a profit maximizing firm. A competence frontier is constructed as a linear combination of the maximum levels of technical and social skills that are difficult to measure and evaluate. The Peter Principle holds when managers are chosen from workers that are in the competence frontier and the Dilbert Principle when they are below the competence frontier. It is shown that the profitability under the Dilbert Principle is less than under the Peter Principle. The introduction of new technologies is one form to avoid the Dilbert Principle.

JEL Classification: M12, L22

Suggested Citation

Faria, Joao Ricardo, An Economic Analysis of the Peter and Dilbert Principles (January 2000). UTS Working Paper No. 101, Available at SSRN: or

Joao Ricardo Faria (Contact Author)

Florida Atlantic University ( email )

Boca Raton, FL 33431
United States

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