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The welfare effects of incentive schemes

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  • Adam Copeland
  • Cyril Monnet

Abstract

This paper computes the change in welfare associated with the introduction of incentives. Specifically, we calculate by how much the welfare gains of increased output due to incentives outweigh workers' disutility from increased effort. We accomplish this by studying the use of incentives by a firm in the check-clearing industry. Using this firm's production records, we model and estimate the worker's dynamic effort decision problem. We find that the firm's incentive scheme has a large effect on productivity, raising it by 14% over the sample period. Using our parameter estimates, we show that the cost of increased effort due to incentives is equal to the dollar value of a 9% rise in productivity. Welfare is measured as the output produced minus the cost of effort, hence the net increase in welfare due to the introduction of the firm's bonus plan is 5%. Under a first-best scheme, we find that the net increase in welfare is 6%.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2003-08.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2003-08

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Keywords: Welfare;

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References

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  1. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  2. Paul Oyer, 1998. "Fiscal Year Ends And Nonlinear Incentive Contracts: The Effect On Business Seasonality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 149-185, February.
  3. Ariel Pakes, 1986. "Patents as Options: Some Estimates of the Value of Holding European Patent Stocks," NBER Working Papers 1340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ferrall, Christopher & Shearer, Bruce, 1999. "Incentives and Transactions Costs within the Firm: Estimating an Agency Model Using Payroll Records," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 309-38, April.
  5. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2002. "Testing Contract Theory : A Survey of Some Recent Work," Working Papers 2002-11, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  6. Margiotta, Mary M & Miller, Robert A, 2000. "Managerial Compensation and the Cost of Moral Hazard," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 669-719, August.
  7. J. H. Abbring & P.-A. Chiappori & J. J. Heckman & J. Pinquet, 2002. "Testing for Moral Hazard on Dynamic Insurance Data," THEMA Working Papers 2002-24, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  8. Goffe, William L. & Ferrier, Gary D. & Rogers, John, 1994. "Global optimization of statistical functions with simulated annealing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 65-99.
  9. Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
  10. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  11. Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
  12. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  13. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Bernard Fortin & Nicolas Jacquemet & Bruce Shearer, 2010. "Labour Supply, Work Effort and Contract Choice: Theory and Evidence on Physicians," Cahiers de recherche 1034, CIRPEE.
  2. Dagsvik, John K. & Strøm, Steinar, 2004. "Sectoral labor supply, choice restrictions and functional form," Memorandum 13/2004, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Xavier d'Haultfoeuille & Philippe Février, 2011. "The Provision of Wage Incentives : A Structural Estimation Using Contracts Variation," Working Papers 2011-29, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. Paarsch, Harry J. & Shearer, Bruce S., 2009. "The response to incentives and contractual efficiency: Evidence from a field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 481-494, July.
  5. John Rust & Richard Staelin, 2011. "Rust’s and Staelin’s Comments on: “A structural model of sales force compensation dynamics: estimation and field implementation” by Sanjog Misra and Harikesh Nair," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 259-265, September.
  6. Misra, Sanjog & Nair, Harikesh, 2009. "A Structural Model of Sales-Force Compensation Dynamics: Estimation and Field Implementation," Research Papers 2037, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  7. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Steffen Andersen & Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2012. "Carrots that Look Like Sticks: Toward an Understanding of Multitasking Incentive Schemes," NBER Working Papers 18453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tzioumis, Konstantinos & Gee, Matthew, 2013. "Nonlinear incentives and mortgage officers’ decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 436-453.

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