Incentive Design for Talent Discovery

Basil Williams (NYU)

November 30, 2022, 11:00–12:30

Auditorium 3

Job Market Seminar


In many organizations, employees enjoy significant discretion regarding project selection. If projects differ in their informativeness about an employee’s quality, project choices will be distorted whenever career concerns are important. We analyze a model in which an organization can shape its employees’ career concerns by committing to a system for allocating a limited set of promotions. We show that the organization optimally overpromotes certain categories of underperforming employees, trading off efficient matching of employees to promotions in return for superior project selection. When organizations can additionally pay monetary bonuses, we find that overpromotion is a superior incentive tool when the organization needs to offer high-powered incentives; otherwise, bonuses perform better.