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A General Test for Distortions in Performance Measures

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Author Info

  • Pascal Courty

    (Department of Economics, European University Institute)

  • Gerald Marschke

    (Department of Economics and Department of Public Administration and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York, NBER, and IZA)

Abstract

Results from the incentive literature suggest that performance measures are often distorted, eliciting dysfunctional and unintended responses. The existence of these responses, however, is difficult to demonstrate in practice because this behavior is typically hidden from the researcher. We present a simple model showing that one can test for the existence of distortions by estimating the change in the association between a performance measure and the true goal of the organization with the measure's introduction. Using data from a public-sector organization, we find evidence consistent with the existence of distortions. We draw implications for the selection of performance measures. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 428-441

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:3:p:428-441

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Cited by:
  1. Carolyn J. Heinrich & Gerald Marschke, 2010. "Incentives and their dynamics in public sector performance management systems," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 183-208.
  2. Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, C. Mirjam, 2010. "The effect of noise in a performance measure on work motivation: A real effort laboratory experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 751-765, October.
  3. Gibbs, Michael, 2012. "Design and Implementation of Pay for Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 6322, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Michiel Bijlsma & Pierre Koning & Victoria Shestalova, 2013. "The Effect of Competition on Process and Outcome Quality of Hospital Care in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(2), pages 121-155, June.
  5. Randolph Sloof & Mirjam van Praag, 2008. "The Degradation of Distorted Performance Measures," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-072/3, Tinbergen Institute.

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