The Credibility of Performance Feedback in Tournaments

The Credibility of Performance Feedback in Tournaments

Journal of Economics & Management Strategy. February
10, 2015, Vol. 24, Issue 1, Pages 165-188

This paper studies the effect of performance feedback on tournament outcomes, when a possibly dishonest principal may manipulate the agents’ expectations to stimulate their effort. Under plausible circumstances, an increase in the principal’s propensity to tell the truth (i.e., integrity) induces a mean preserving spread in the distribution of effort and leads to a decrease in expected profits and welfare. More generally, I identify conditions under which a lower integrity can improve the effectiveness of financial incentives in inducing the agents’ effort, thus leading to higher expected profits for the principal.