Rank Uncertainty in Organizations
51 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2020 Last revised: 13 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 12, 2020
A principal incentivizes a team of agents to work by privately offering them bonuses contingent on team success. We study the principal’s optimal incentive scheme that implements work as a unique equilibrium. This scheme leverages rank uncertainty to address strategic uncertainty. Each agent is informed only of a ranking distribution and his own bonus, the latter making work dominant provided that higher-rank agents work. If agents are symmetric, their bonuses are identical. Thus, discrimination is strictly suboptimal, in sharp contrast with the case of public contracts (Winter, 2004). We characterize how agents’ ranking and compensation vary with asymmetric effort costs.
Keywords: mechanism design, information design, contracting with externalities, unique implementation, pay discrimination, pay secrecy
JEL Classification: D82, D86, L22
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