Knowing That You Know: Incentive Effects of Relative Performance Disclosure
54 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2021 Last revised: 10 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 16, 2021
This paper studies differential employee responses to the public disclosure of individual performance information throughout an organization. We argue that, to the extent that employees care about their colleagues’ perceptions of their productivity, public disclosure will increase motivation. Moreover, the effect should be stronger for employees whose colleagues expect them to have higher performance. We obtained data from a bank that transitioned from private to public disclosure of employee rankings and, consistent with our hypothesis, find heterogeneity in employee responses to public disclosure. Employees with a history of poor performance increase their output more than past good performers when rankings become public. Additionally, more highly educated employees react more strongly to the change. However, contrary to the literature that finds gender differences in competitive environments, we do not find systematic differences in the response to public disclosure on this dimension. Overall, the results suggest that public disclosure is an important dimension to consider when designing a compensation system.
Keywords: Tournaments; Relative performance information; Public disclosure
JEL Classification: M41, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation