Review of “Pay For Performance And Beyond” Journal

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The journal by the name “Pay For Performance And Beyond” written by Bengt Holmstrom is based on a discussion of the work on incentive contracts that involve moral perils. The story is founded on a journey of change from a pay-for-performance model that is narrow to one that broadly focuses on considering the compensation dilemma in the development of coherent schemes. It also includes the insights and misunderstandings, which in this case, it shows how to deal with different strategies. Holmstrom, describes the efforts to become an economist and the growth of the interest in the issues related to incentives and management of time in the business world through study and work style. He also reiterates that he had no intentions of becoming a lecturer since after completing his studies at the University of Helsinki, he was first employed as a business developer in Ahlstrom Company.

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Ahlstrom Company was among the corporations that were ranked best by that time, and had branches that spread worldwide. The task that he was hired for was to implement a model of linear programming that helped the organization in a long-term strategic planning. It had many variables and several constraints which described all the factories they were associated with. The assignment was to plan how information was to be collected in these manufacturing plants. Consequently, the collection of these data raised suspicion over his age as the model would advise the top management.

Therefore, the above process was slowed down due to delays in decision-making. The occurrence helped him understand how the organization was misguided by assuming the best intentions for the factory which affected the gathering of the required information. In some cases, the data would vary and disagreements did often occur amongst the team members. The data collected, therefore, was in questions in relation to technical application and strategic planning (Holmström, 2017). Thus, he made two suggestions on other methods to be used in the project to enhance the strategic plans in the manufacturing plants. Since each factory needed to improve on its planning processes, he recommended the creation of smaller models that would aid the development. He also suggested the implementation of an investment planning at the organizational level which would aim to solve staff motivational issues.

The first suggestion of creating models that would be applied in factories was a success. The frameworks were amendable by replicating what the factory was doing, though it brought a lot of back-and-forth trend. The model was fed with the data from the facilities, which would then give a proposal of the optimal solution to be applied, while also explaining the aim for providing such suggestions (Holmström, 2017). Elucidating the reason why it chooses certain solutions were imperative, and this made it clear that his purpose was to note the missing specifications in the model and not the mechanical solution. The second recommendation did not work, in that. all the mistakes that could arise when creating new incentives did occur. The high-powered computers are used in firms; therefore, financial incentives can be extremely dysfunctional, and efforts to stabilize the economy could be futile. Within the firm, most people are misinformed and generally, substantial bonuses and pay-for-performance should be avoided altogether.

The Issue of the Principal-Agent

The One-Dimensional Effort Model

The authors Robert Wilson, John Spence and Richard Zeckhauser, Stephen Ross, Joseph Stiglitz, and James Mirrlees were early contributors to the principal-agent works on moral peril. Wilson and Ross wanted to know in what circumstances the head’s and mediator’s interests in risky sweepstakes would be ideally matched when jeopardy is optimally shared (Liang & Tussing, 2020). If the superintendent’s and contractor’s attribute values are the same and linear risk distribution is efficient, then the above stamen would be true. Spence and Zeckhauser looked at insurance strategies on a variety of conventions, including moral threat and antagonistic selection. However, Mirrlees observed at how an agent can work for the principal amount and still be motivated to work hard (Liang & Tussing, 2020). In designing effective incentives there are challenges aligned to it.

Thus, the agent believes that offering the provision is, at the very least, confidentially expensive beyond a certain threshold, thus, a monetary incentive dependent on success is required. Nevertheless, since success is difficult to assess, variable compensation can be used to motivate employees. To tackle this issue, there is a need to look at the simple reward strategies that would be included as a performance benefit. The disadvantage of having a specific purposeful method is that the study would not reveal whether different inducements are utilized.

Consequently, this author turned to the formulation of the relationship of the agent and principal. In this case, the effort, e, is the choice of the agent. This optimal leads to a payoff, x, that is equivalent to the effort putting into consideration the factors, E, that cannot be controlled in place. In a specification of addition, this formula becomes x=e + E. It is more logically straightforward and stylish to consider the mediator as selecting a spreading over x, as stated by Mirrlees. The distribution above, E, prompts a dissemination over x, which is represented by F (x|e). It, therefore, omits E then replaces it with a simplified and descriptive explanation while the over-reliance can be useful to modify some specific situations.

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Therefore, the foremost gives the agent a benefit package, s, before they perform, which rewards the agent s(x) until the recognized pay stays x. The agent’s and principal’s services are U= u(s(x)) – c (e) as well as V= x- s(x), respectively, indicating that the principal is risk unenthusiastic while the agent is threat indifferent (Liang & Tussing, 2020). The utility purpose of each agent is additively detachable, which is limiting and widely used. The problem becomes one of the moral hazards in that they both are informed proportionally when taking the contract. The utility in prediction should be equal to the one offered elsewhere. For an agent to participate, the principal must contemplate the effect of s(x) of the agent’s intended utility. Therefore, the principal becomes responsible for these individuals’ additional danger and commitment.

To figure out what the principal’s best offer is, imagine the principal offering an effort level e and an enticement system s(x) that makes the proxy glad to select e, i.e., s(x) and e are incentive well-matched. As a result, an optimal pair is found out by;

Max E(x-s(x) e), focus towards (1)

E [u(s(x)) − c (e) |e] ≥ E [u(s(x)) − c (e′) |e′] for e′ ≠ e, and (2)

E [u(s(x)) − c (e) |e] ≥ U (3)

The initial limitation guarantees that e happens to be the best option for the handler. If the claimant prefers e, the possible limitation ensures that he will receive at least his quota utility U and hence will sign the deal.

First Best Circumstances

Before examining the objective function to the second-best system (1)–(3), it is helpful to consider certain situations in which the optimization process is the same as the first-best approach that occurs when the reward restriction (2) is removed. This is so because any intensity level e can be applied at no expense. The first-best initiative symbolized eFB maximizes E (x|e) c since the premise is risk-balanced (e). This case is achieved when the uncertainty is not seen, the risk to the agent is neutral, and when the dissemination has moving sustenance.

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The third case gives an idea of how the model reasons, making it one of the most interesting cases. In this scenario, an agent should receive a decent and constant payment once they choose the first best case effort. This occurrence can be applied in paying a standard wage, thus, when the payoff is good and the outcome is low, the wage should below. This scheme helps in leading an agent to choose the first-best level rather than any other to ensure there is no consequence. Assumptions also are flawed in the basic system, but they can always play a key role in cost-adjusted opportunity dealings.

Second Best with Two Actions

In this case, the agent chooses between two distributions while depicting the optimal enticement system. It reveals the insights from the models that are basic and without dealing with technical difficulties. Unlike the first best that pays a fixed wage, the compensation program in this instance pays a variable remuneration. This is because the principal must have an opportunity for the agent to do some decent and quality work. The shape of the incentive system is dependent on the density function ratios. When the ratio is less than 1 the agent gets a retribution due to less effort application and gets a bonus when it is more than 1. This strategy is based on the assumption that the principal is absent.

The Theory of Informativeness

The idea that the simple agency prototypical thinks like a mathematician is extremely helpful in comprehending and predicting its actions. Cases that are important answers the reason why an additional signal is valued as it lets the principal have a better deal.

Additional Signal

When an added signal is too noisy one might believe that the value of the data contained in it will be weakened. The intuition is incorrect and is seen in a slight expansion of the second-best contract characterization. This scheme follows a similar classification as the second-best case. In a variation of the depiction, the ratio depends on signals x and y therefore the optimum solution depends on these indications. The added signal is only useful when it conveys additional data about something an agent did in another signal and therefore underlines the dissemination function design. A similar categorization with the second-best contract can be derived, although it would not be easily understood as it does not declare an arithmetical interpretation.

In considering the usage of copays this scenario should be considered as an informativeness concept. Hence, an insured person should take steps to avoid a fortune. When an injury occurs, the harm it causes is unaffected by the precautions put into place. Under any scenario, having the cover incur a deductible is preferable. Accidents happen as a motivator to take precautions, but the insurance provider does not but is liable for all the damages regardless of the magnitude. Thus, the fate’s incidence would include all pertinent facts about the steps taken by the proxy.

Consequences of the Insightful Theory

The theory of informativeness has several ramifications; for instance, randomization is not the only option in that there is no need for randomizing the payout to the agent if a certain signal is present. Likewise, the principal gets a better price by removing the randomness without changing the utility of the agent. In valuation, the reliability theory shows that the agent can only get a reward based on the influenced conditions. Because the representative has no power over what other agencies do, using correlation coefficients assessment appears to contradict this theory. An appropriate translation of the maneuverability principle suggests that only an agent must be compensated dependent on the most useful efficiency metric available.

In the mathematical context, a sufficient parameter is often sufficient for constructing optimum reward deals. If critical data is delayed, optimal remuneration would be based on stalled information. The agent’s distribution of phase and effort can be distorted by relative presentation assessment. As representatives who labor together are pitted against one another, teamwork is affected and destroyed. Longer accruing periods, which would result in payments being delayed, are impossible to skew the CEO’s action in a derogatory way.

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Problems and Inadequacies

When x = e+ E, the best reward scheme does not have to be non-decreasing. Given first-order probability domination, increased performance does not always imply higher effort. The characterization of the second-best contract implies that the incentive system is always monotone concerning the proportion. Depending on the ratio, the agent gets bad pay when the value is high and good pay when the value is low. The higher result assumes that a better state was attained, although but data proves that the agent gets frustrated if the bad state was attained. Tail incidents are highly useful when attempting to determine if the practical outcome is compatible mostly with an agent selecting a high or relatively low degree of effort, beyond how the usual range. Mostly, in the lowest quintile, the probability proportion approaches unity, meaning that, a result well around a certain parameter is significant evidence and could work against any model.

In the Direction of an Extra Realistic Model

Incentive Plans Linear

Since around is an inequity amid the representative’s one-dimensional action space, as well as the immeasurable dimensional regulator space open to the principal, the maximum in the modest prototypical appears to be complex. In Mirrlees’ case, a reward system often follows first-best performs for much the same purpose (Holmström, 2017). Whenever this agent is required to regulate only the means of the confidence interval, then the framework is perfectly designed. If one increases the agent’s option domain by a factor of two, enabling the investigator to examine any data before deciding on effort, then the plan would fail miserably. The motive to deliver yet another product will be the same irrespective of how much the salesman has earned so far; for this reason, the incentive plans are considered linear. Hence, a specific destination system was developed based upon the above concept. In this scenario, the agent offers one entity or zero for each cycle and selects effort inside each time centered on the real history before a specific moment.

Alternative Methodologies and Extensions

Yuliy Sannikov pioneered and coined the use of constant loops time scales to investigate solvable and appropriate reward issues. He uses dominant algorithms to resolve an overall and non-stationary action problem (Holmström, 2017). These methods necessitate a critical scrutiny for determining only the right conclusions in carrying out the study. However, the pay can be high in a vibrant framework of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) recompense. This model creates a solid scenario by utilizing adaptive bonus plans, which hold funds in lenders and change the debt-to-equity ratio in reaction to new facts.

The Single-Task Linear Model

In this framework, the agent’s single behavior and the superintendent’s one-dimensional power are perfectly balanced, making the design extremely excellent. The system can be expanded in several aspects, and thus, easy responses could be obtained by studying the risks and advantages of (collectively chosen) various programs, manufacturing methods, and management systems. Thus, the cost-benefit variable c(e) seems to be the most fascinating variance in such concepts. Therefore, the principal will change the agent’s potential cost structure in a range of methods.


Workload determines how an agent’s work entails a variety of tasks, and causes a significant change in attitude and emphasis. Rather than focusing on making an agent concentrate well enough on a particular mission, the attention shifted on how the representative distributes their time in a manner that aligns with the goals. When roles are interrelated, the best configuration must take the agent’s desires into account and benefits in their entirety. For instance, realizing the agent’s whole range of assets and what they do for a living.

Alternative Incentives in Firms

Pay-for-performance systems are seen infrequently by businesses, although the majority of employees are working on fixed pay. In this case, it is concluded that output credibility in the businesses metrics is worse than in the markets. Multitasking has several advantages and additional clarification, many alternatives to pay-for-performance bonuses are available to companies which are not readily available by industry dealings.

Jobs and Outsourcing are two Compensation Programs

The previous debate demonstrates that businesses have a range of compensation tools at their disposal which they can use to substitute for lesser pay-for-performance rewards. The utilizing and designing incentive schemes are implicated in two ways. Firstly, creating efficient benefits within the scheme necessitates a strategic approach. A systematic use among all reward credit products is similar to the previous setting. Information overload teaches that assignments for all roles should be regarded. Secondly, businesses and consumer rewards form two fundamentally consistent structures, one with its strategic edge.

According to philosophers Chris Anderson and David Schmittlein, the significant factors influencing the decision-making among jobs and professional hiring were “the difficulty of measuring results” and “the significance of pseudo practices” (Holmström, 2017). As the two discovered, there are perks compensation schemes. In this case, a general consultant (marketing manager) controls the hefty profits, and they are compensated well for product selling, although they are eligible to serve other businesses. A salesperson does not own protracted profits, they are compensated on a commission basis, and they are not permitted to serve other firms.


In conclusion, the simple one-dimensional effort design is the key framework at the beginning of a study on moral hazards. The apparent consistency enables these incentive schemes to behave in unexpected ways. The informative principle uncovers the fundamental information, such that, the reasoning of the model provides insights into the importance of knowledge, but does not describe the form of inducement. Thus, it is true to imply that the potential of a firm to use lesser opportunities paired with limitations gives it a competitive edge over other companies.


Holmström, B. (2017). Pay-for-performance and Beyond. American Economic Review, 107(7), 1753-1777. Web.

Liang, L., & Tussing, A. (2020). Beyond Pay‐for‐performance: Can different feedback and payment distribution methods affect team performance? Health Services Research, 55(S1), 115-116. Web.

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BusinessEssay. 2022. "Review of “Pay For Performance And Beyond” Journal." September 14, 2022.

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BusinessEssay. "Review of “Pay For Performance And Beyond” Journal." September 14, 2022.