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Smarter Task Assignment or Greater Effort: The Impact of Incentives on Team Performance

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  • Simon Burgess
  • Carol Propper
  • Marisa Ratto
  • StephanievonHinke KesslerScholder
  • Emma Tominey

Abstract

We use an experiment to study the impact of team-based incentives, exploiting rich data from personnel records and management information systems. Using a triple difference design, we show that the incentive scheme had an impact on team performance, even with quite large teams. We examine whether this effect was due to increased effort from workers or strategic task reallocation. We find that the provision of financial incentives did raise individual performance but that managers also disproportionately reallocated efficient workers to the incentivised tasks. We show that this reallocation was the more important contributor to the overall outcome. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2009.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 120 (2010)
Issue (Month): 547 (09)
Pages: 968-989

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:547:p:968-989

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References

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  1. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  2. Encinosa III, William E. & Gaynor, Martin & Rebitzer, James B., 2007. "The sociology of groups and the economics of incentives: Theory and evidence on compensation systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 187-214, February.
  3. Burgess, Simon & Propper, Carol & Ratto, Marisa & Tominey, Emma, 2012. "Incentives in the Public Sector: Evidence from a Government Agency," IZA Discussion Papers 6738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  5. Gaynor, Martin & Pauly, Mark V, 1990. "Compensation and Productive Efficiency of Partnerships: Evidence from Medical Group Practice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 544-73, June.
  6. 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.
  7. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Ana-Maria Godeanu, 2012. "The antecedents of satisfaction with pay in teams: do performance-based compensation and autonomy keep team-members satisfied?," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 3, pages 145-168, June.
  2. Ratto, Marisa & Tominey, Emma & Vergé, Thibaud, 2012. "Team Structure and the Effectiveness of Collective Performance Pay," IZA Discussion Papers 6747, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Burgess, Simon & Propper, Carol & Ratto, Marisa & Tominey, Emma, 2012. "Incentives in the Public Sector: Evidence from a Government Agency," IZA Discussion Papers 6738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0982, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Hartmut Egger & Michael Koch, 2013. "Trade and the Firm-Internal Allocation of Workers to Tasks," Working Papers 139, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  6. Hasnain, Zahid & Manning, Nick & Pierskalla Henryk, 2012. "Performance-related pay in the public sector : a review of theory and evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6043, The World Bank.

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