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When Workers Share in Profits: Effort and Responses to Shirking

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  • Richard Freeman

Abstract

This paper summarizes new evidence from the "Shared Capitalism" Project on the extent to which workers' earnings depend on the performance of their firm or work group in the US and advanced European countries and on the impact of sharing arrangements on economic behavior. The evidence shows that: 1) a large and growing proportion of workers are covered by shared capitalism through worker profit-sharing, bonuses, or worker ownership of shares; 2) outcomes for workers and firms are higher under shared capitalism than under other work and pay arrangements; and 3) that worker co-monitoring helps overcome the free rider problem that arises when part of workers pay depends on the productivity and effort of all workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0882.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0882

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Profit sharing; efficiency wages;

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  1. 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.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Leibowitz, Arleen & Tollison, Robert, 1980. "Free Riding, Shirking, and Team Production in Legal Partnerships," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 380-94, July.
  4. Douglas L. Kruse, 1993. "Profit Sharing: Does It Make a Difference?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ps.
  5. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "Punishing free-riders: How group size affects mutual monitoring and the provision of public goods," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 31-51, July.
  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. Hirshlifer, David & Rassmusen, Eric, 1989. "Cooperation in a repeated prisoners' dilemma with ostracism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 87-106, August.
  8. Richard B. Freeman & Douglas Kruse & Joseph Blasi, 2007. "The Same Yet Different: Worker Reports on Labour Practices and Outcomes in a Single Firm Across Countries," NBER Working Papers 13233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Martin J. Conyon & Richard B. Freeman, 2001. "Shared Modes of Compensation and Firm Performance: UK Evidence," NBER Working Papers 8448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-105, December.
  13. Jones, Derek C & Kato, Takao, 1995. "The Productivity Effects of Employee Stock-Ownership Plans and Bonuses: Evidence from Japanese Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 391-414, June.
  14. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  15. Joseph Blasi & Michael Conte & Douglas Kruse, 1996. "Employee stock ownership and corporate performance among public companies," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 60-79, October.
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