Weekly Economics Webinar by Elliot Lipnowski
September 30, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:40 pm
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Title: Rank Uncertainty in Organizations [link to paper]
Speaker: Elliot Lipnowski, Assistant Professor of Economics, Columbia University
Abstract: 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.