Conflict, wages, and multiple equilibria
Firms’ compensation practices affect the protection of investors’ interests and the degree of economic inequality by changing the stakes of engaging in appropriation activities versus respecting the status quo. We use a general equilibrium model where workers can either work peacefully or join a guerrilla movement that expropriates entrepreneurs. If workers are peaceful, they receive a competitive wage. If they join a guerrilla movement, they receive a share of the appropriated wealth, which depends positively on the number of guerrilla members. In this framework, we find one low-income, low-wage equilibrium with guerrilla activity and one peaceful, high-income, high-wage equilibrium. The peaceful equilibrium can be reached through redistribution policies, which can be implemented at the firm level. In essence, through their compensation policies entrepreneurs, not the state might be able to protect their assets against expropriation and simultaneously control the internal principal-agent problem.