Profit Centers and Incentives in Teams
42 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2001
Date Written: May 15, 2001
Standard models of team production imply that, due to the free rider problem, profit sharing tends to have negligible incentive effects in large organizations. Many observers therefore find the use of profit sharing in large firms puzzling. In this paper we show that if a firm can be decomposed into two separate teams whose outputs can be observed, then a tournament between these two teams sometimes solves the free rider problem. Moreover, we show that the relationship between production risk and the strength of incentives in an optimal tournament contract can be positive, contrary to the standard conclusion that optimal contracts should exhibit a trade-off between risk and uncertainty. We use our efficiency results to endogenize the firm's organizational structure. In particular, we show that in the presence of economies of scale, small firms tend to be organized as unitary firms, while large firms will tend to choose the multidivisional organizational form.
Keywords: Profit Centers, Team Tournaments
JEL Classification: L2, L1, J3, D2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation