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Terstiege, Stefan (1. August 2013): Objective versus Subjective Performance Evaluations. SFB/TR 15 Discussion Paper No. 430 [PDF, 405kB]


Why does incentive pay often depend on subjective rather than objective performance evaluations? After all, subjective evaluations entail a credibility issue. While the most plausible explanation for this practice is lack of adequate objective measures, I argue that subjective evaluations might sometimes also be used to withhold information from the worker. I furthermore argue that withholding information is particularly important under circumstances where the credibility issue is small. The statements are derived from a two-stage principal-agent model in which the stochastic relationship between effort and performance is unknown.

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