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The Effects of Group Incentives in an Indian Firm: Evidence from Payroll Data

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  • Debashish Bhattacherjee

Abstract

This paper estimates the effects of group incentives on productivity, pay and employment in a large unionized firm in India. Using plant-level monthly time-series data from the payroll office for the period 1985-95, and controlling for both (plant) fixed effects and (contract) time effects, the paper provides econometric evidence on the effectiveness of both the level and intensity of incentive pay on the outcome measures. In addition, the relative performance of two types of group incentives defined on the basis of group size is also analysed. The results generally confirm predictions from theory that productivity returns to incentives are non-linear and concave in shape and that the effectiveness of incentives is decreasing in group size. It is argued that the latter is most likely due to the lessening of the free-rider problem and the increased effectiveness of peer monitoring associated with smaller groups. The results also point to a negative relationship between the level of incentives and employment over time. Copyright 2005 CEIS, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by CEIS in its journal LABOUR.

Volume (Year): 19 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 147-173

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Handle: RePEc:bla:labour:v:19:y:2005:i:1:p:147-173

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  1. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-55, November.
  2. Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-72, October.
  3. Bhalotra, Sonia R, 1998. "The Puzzle of Jobless Growth in Indian Manufacturing," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(1), pages 5-32, February.
  4. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  5. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2003. "Beyond Incentive Pay: Insiders' Estimates of the Value of Complementary Human Resource Management Practices," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 155-180, Winter.
  6. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 33, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. William N. Cooke, 1994. "Employee participation programs, group-based incentives, and company performance: A union-nonunion comparison," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 594-609, July.
  9. James A. Dorn, 2003. "Introduction," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 23(1), pages 1-9, Spring/Su.
  10. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  11. Nalbantian, Haig R & Schotter, Andrew, 1997. "Productivity under Group Incentives: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 314-41, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Burgess, Simon & Propper, Carol & Ratto, Marisa & Tominey, Emma, 2012. "Incentives in the Public Sector: Evidence from a Government Agency," CEPR Discussion Papers 9071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Rupayan Pal, 2011. "Union-Firm Bargaining Under Alternative Pay Schemes: Does Performance Related Pay Fair Better?," Working Papers id:3803, eSocialSciences.
  3. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 120-134.
  4. Shaw, Kathryn, 2009. "Insider econometrics: A roadmap with stops along the way," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 607-617, December.
  5. Kshitija Dixit & Rupayan Pal, 2010. "The impact of group incentives on performance of small firms: Hausman-Taylor estimates," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(6), pages 403-414.
  6. Rai, Soumi, 2012. "Human resource management and labour relations in the Indian industrial sector," Discussion Papers, Research Group Globalization, Work, and Production SP III 2012-301, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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