Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Incentives in the Public Sector: Evidence from a Government Agency

Contents:

Author Info

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

    ()

Abstract

This paper addresses a lack of evidence on the impact of performance pay in the public sector by evaluating a pilot scheme of incentives in a major government agency. The incentive scheme was based on teams and covered five different targets, measured with varying degrees of precision. We use data from the agency's performance management system and personnel records, plus matched labour market data. We focus on three main issues: whether performance pay matters for public service workers, what the team basis of the scheme implies, and the impact of the differential measurement precision. We show that the use of performance pay did have a significant effect on the main quality measure (job placements), but that there was significant heterogeneity of response. This heterogeneity was patterned as one would expect from a free rider versus per monitoring perspective. We found that the incentive had a substantial positive effect in small teams, and a negative response in large teams. We found little impact of the scheme on quality measures, and we interpret this as due to the differential measurement technology. We show that the scheme in small teams had non-trivial effects on output, and our estimates suggest that the use of incentive pay is much more cost effective than a general pay rise.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp103.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 04/103.

as in new window
Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:04/103

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 2 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TX
Phone: 0117 33 10799
Fax: 0117 33 10705
Email:
Web page: http://www.bris.ac.uk/cmpo/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: incentives; public sector; teams; performance; personnel economics;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0982, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Glenn MacDonald & Leslie M. Marx, 2001. "Adverse Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 864-899, August.
  3. Paarsch, Harry J. & Shearer, Bruce, 1996. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," Cahiers de recherche 9623, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  4. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  5. Avinash Dixit, 2002. "# Incentives and Organizations in the Public Sector: An Interpretative Review," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 696-727.
  6. George Baker, 2002. "Distortion and Risk in Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 728-751.
  7. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2006. "Incentives for Managers and Inequality Among Workers: Evidence from a Firm Level Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2062, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence from Personnel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Marisa Ratto & StephanievonHinke KesslerScholder & Emma Tominey, 2010. "Smarter Task Assignment or Greater Effort: The Impact of Incentives on Team Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 968-989, 09.
  10. Debashish Bhattacherjee, 2005. "The Effects of Group Incentives in an Indian Firm: Evidence from Payroll Data," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(1), pages 147-173, 03.
  11. Barbara Petrongolo & Christopher Pissarides, 2000. "Looking into the black box: a survey of the matching function," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2122, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Orana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2202, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  14. Baicker, Katherine & Jacobson, Mireille, 2007. "Finders keepers: Forfeiture laws, policing incentives, and local budgets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2113-2136, December.
  15. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  16. Gerald Marschke & Pascal Courty, 2002. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Explicit Performance Incentives," Discussion Papers 02-06, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  17. Kathleen J. Mullen & Richard G. Frank & Meredith B. Rosenthal, 2009. "Can You Get What You Pay For? Pay-For-Performance and the Quality of Healthcare Providers," NBER Working Papers 14886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Emma Hall & Carol Propper & John Van Reenen, 2008. "Can Pay Regulation Kill? Panel Data Evidence on the Effect of Labor Markets on Hospital Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0843, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  19. Barton H. Hamilton & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2003. "Team Incentives and Worker Heterogeneity: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Teams on Productivity and Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 465-497, June.
  20. Hugh Gravelle & Matt Sutton & Ada Ma, 2010. "Doctor Behaviour under a Pay for Performance Contract: Treating, Cheating and Case Finding?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(542), pages F129-F156, 02.
  21. Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "The Consequences of The Decline in Public Sector Pay in Britain: A Little Bit of Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages F107-F118, February.
  22. Oriana Bandiera & Luigi Guiso & Andrea Prat & Raffaella Sadun, 2009. "Matching Firms, Managers, and Incentives," EIEF Working Papers Series 0901, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Feb 2009.
  23. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 2 :application to missions and accountability of government agencies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9641, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  24. 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.
  25. Martin Gaynor & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 2004. "Physician Incentives in Health Maintenance Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 915-931, August.
  26. Kahn, Charles M & Silva, Emilson C D & Ziliak, James P, 2001. "Performance-Based Wages in Tax Collection: The Brazilian Tax Collection Reform and Its Effects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 188-205, January.
  27. repec:rus:hseeco:122154 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2009. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 15323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Burt S Barnow, 2000. "Exploring the relationship between performance management and program impact: A case study of the job training partnership act," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 118-141.
  30. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
  31. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Incentives, Choice, and Accountability in the Provision of Public Services," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 235-249, Summer.
  32. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/071, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  33. 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.
  34. Courty, Pascal & Marschke, Gerald, 1997. "Measuring Government Performance: Lessons from a Federal Job-Training Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 383-88, May.
  35. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
  36. repec:rus:hseeco:124059 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," NBER Working Papers 6957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  39. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  40. Victor Lavy, 2004. "Performance Pay and Teachers' Effort, Productivity and Grading Ethics," NBER Working Papers 10622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 285-300, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Incentives in the public sector: Some lessons from recent failures
    by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2013-01-30 18:13:32
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Ederer, Florian & Holden, Richard & Meyer, Margaret A, 2013. "Gaming and Strategic Ambiguity in Incentive Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 9319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Koning, Pierre & Heinrich, Carolyn J., 2010. "Cream-Skimming, Parking and Other Intended and Unintended Effects of Performance-Based Contracting in Social Welfare Services," IZA Discussion Papers 4801, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Helen Simpson, 2007. "Productivity in Public Services," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 07/164, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. Carol Propper & Jack Britton, . "Does Wage Regulation Harm Kids? Evidence from English SchoolsAbstract: Teacher wages are commonly subject to centralised wage bargaining. This results in flat teacher wages across heterogeneous labour," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/293, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Florian Ederer & Richard Holden & Margaret A. Meyer, 2014. "Gaming and Strategic Opacity in Incentive Provision," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000875, David K. Levine.
  6. Roel Elk & Marc Steeg & Dinand Webbink, 2013. "Can Financial Incentives for Regional Education Authorities Reduce School Dropout?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(4), pages 367-398, December.
  7. Buurman, Margaretha & Dur, Robert, 2008. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," IZA Discussion Papers 3847, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Marisa Ratto & StephanievonHinke KesslerScholder & Emma Tominey, 2010. "Smarter Task Assignment or Greater Effort: The Impact of Incentives on Team Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 968-989, 09.
  9. 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).
  10. Pierre Koning, 2006. "Measuring the effectiveness of Public Employment Service (PES) workers; an empirical analysis based on the performance outcomes of regional employment offices," CPB Discussion Paper 73, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  11. Francisco Pedraja Chaparro & Javier Salinas Jiménez & María del Mar Salinas Jiménez, 2005. "Los indicadores de gestión en el Sector Público," Revista de Economía y Estadística, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Instituto de Economía y Finanzas, vol. 0(2), pages 109-129, July.
  12. Eleni Karagiannaki, 2006. "Exploring the effects of integrated benefit systems and active labour market policies: Evidence from Jobcentre Plus in the UK," CASE Papers case107, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  13. Margaretha Buurman & Robert Dur, 2008. "Incentives and the Sorting of Altruistic Agents into Street-Level Bureaucracies," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-113/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 14 Oct 2010.
  14. Pierre Koning, 2009. "The effectiveness of Public Employment Service workers in the Netherlands," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 393-409, October.
  15. 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.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:04/103. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.