Monitoring for Worker Quality

Source: Gautam Bose, Kevin Lang, Journal of Labor Economics, Ahead of Print, March 24, 2017
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From the abstract:
Much nonmanagerial work is routine, with all workers having similar output most of the time. However, failure to address occasional challenges can be very costly, and consequently easily detected, while challenges handled well pass unnoticed. We analyze job assignment and worker monitoring for such “guardian” jobs. If monitoring costs are positive but small, monitoring is nonmonotonic in the firm’s belief about the probability that a worker is good. The model explains several empirical regularities regarding nonmanagerial internal labor markets: low use of performance pay, seniority pay, rare demotions, wage ceilings within grade, and wage jumps at promotion.