Güth, Werner Levínský, René Pull, Kerstin Weisel, Ori
Year of Publication:
Jena Economic Research Papers No. 2010,039
Tournaments represent an increasingly important component of organizational compensation systems. While prior research focused on fixed-prize tournaments, i.e., on tournaments where the prize or prize sum to be awarded is set in advance, we introduce a new type of tournament into the literature: premium incentives. While premium incentives, just like fixed-prize tournaments, are based on relative performance, the prize to be awarded is not set in advance but is a function of the firm's success: the prize is high if the firm is successful and low if it is not successful. Relying on a simple model of cost minimization, we are able to show that premium incentives outperform fixed-prize tournaments as well as piece rates. Our theoretical result is qualitatively confirmed by a controlled laboratory experiment and has important practical implications for the design of organizational incentive systems.