March 2011

IZA DP No. 5543: Managerial Incentives and Favoritism in Promotion Decisions: Theory and Field Evidence

This paper investigates the effects of managerial incentives on favoritism in promotion decisions. First, we theoretically show that favoritism leads to a lower quality of promotion decisions and in turn lower efforts. But the effect can be mitigated by pay-for-performance incentives for managers who decide upon promotion. Second, we analyze matched employer-employee survey data with detailed firm level information on managerial incentive schemes and find that perceived promotion quality is indeed substantially higher when managers receive performance-related pay or participate in gain sharing plans.