Julia Nafziger and Heiner Schumacher

We ask how the incentives of an agent are affected by an information management system that lets the agent receive information about the performance of a colleague before (“transparent firm”) rather than after he provides effort (“nontransparent firm”). Transparency is detrimental for incentives if the performance of the colleague provides information on the relative impact of the agent’s effort on his success probability. The findings imply that firms in which comparisons between employees play a minor role for compensation are transparent. Firms in which they play a major role sometimes choose to be nontransparent despite the flexibility gains transparency provides.