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Job Mix, Performance Pay, and Matching Outcomes: Contracting with Multiple Heterogeneous Agents

Kim, Jaesoo and Sly, Nicholas (2010): Job Mix, Performance Pay, and Matching Outcomes: Contracting with Multiple Heterogeneous Agents.

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Abstract

We examine the problem of designing performance contracts with multiple agents when principals must compete for quality teams from a heterogeneous pool of agents. The trade-off principals face between good recruiting and good team performance provides micro foundations for agents to form stable matches, and for initially identical principals to adopt different organizational schemes. The equilibrium pattern of team formation exhibits two distinct, and inversely related, forms of assortative matching. We find that a greater share of principals offering diverse performance incentives across teammates (extensive margin), leads to a lesser degree of heterogeneity in abilities within teams on average (intensive margin). We apply the model to firm behavior to examine the mix of jobs offered and the degree of performance pay in a general equilibrium environment. At the aggregate level, increases in the supply of high-skilled workers leads to a polarization of jobs offered, i.e. relatively greater use of high- and low- skill occupations, consistent with changing labor demands in recent history. Moreover, skill accumulation among the labor force induces more firms to offer a steep set of performance contracts.

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