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Incentive Effects of Bonus Payments: Evidence from an International Company

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Author Info

  • Engellandt, Axel

    ()
    (University of Basel)

  • Riphahn, Regina T.

    ()
    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Abstract

This study uses panel data describing about 6,500 employees in a large international company to study the incentive effects of performance related pay. The company uses two performance related remuneration mechanisms. One is an individual "surprise" bonus payment. The other is a more structured system, where part of the salary is determined by individual performance evaluations. We hypothesize that effort is higher in departments where (i) performance evaluation results are more spread out, (ii) person-specific performance evaluations are more flexible over time, (iii) surprise bonuses are used more frequently. These hypotheses are tested using days of absence and overtime work as effort indicators. The tests yield that hypotheses (ii) and (iii) are supported, and that (i) cannot be tested reliably due to possible simultaneity bias in our data. We investigate and confirm the robustness of these findings. They suggest that surprise bonus payments and flexibility in the evaluation of individual performances over time provide effective incentives for employee effort.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1229.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2011, 64 (2), 241-257
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1229

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Related research

Keywords: bonus; mobility; social status; worker effort; overtime; pay for performance; merit pay; absenteeism;

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References

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  1. Cable, John & Wilson, Nicholas, 1990. "Profit-Sharing and Productivity: Some Further Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 550-55, June.
  2. Morton, Peter J., 1998. "Annual bonuses, employment and productivity change in Taiwan's manufacturing sector," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 481-507, December.
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  4. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 2003. "Performance Incentives within Firms: The Effect of Managerial Responsibility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1613-1650, 08.
  5. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
  6. Engellandt, Axel & Riphahn, Regina T., 2003. "Temporary Contracts and Employee Effort," IZA Discussion Papers 780, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. 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.
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  10. Ichino, Andrea & Riphahn, Regina, 2003. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: A Comparison of Absenteeism During and After Probation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3847, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  12. Cable, John & Wilson, Nicholas, 1989. "Profit-Sharing and Productivity: An Analysis of UK Engineering Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 366-75, June.
  13. Treble, John G., 2001. "Productivity And Effort: The Labor-Supply Decisions Of Late Victorian Coalminers," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 414-438, June.
  14. Donald P. Schwab & Craig A. Olson, 1990. "Merit pay practices: Implications for pay-performance relationships," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 237-255, February.
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  16. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pfeifer, Christian, 2012. "Base Salaries, Bonus Payments, and Work Absence among Managers in a German Company," IZA Discussion Papers 7088, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Wolter Hassink & Pierre Koning, 2005. "Do Financial Bonuses to Employees Reduce their Absenteeism? Outcome of a Lottery," Working Papers 05-27, Utrecht School of Economics.
  3. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2010. "An Inquiry into the Theory, Causes and Consequences of Monitoring Indicators of Health and Safety at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 4734, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Matthias Kräkel, 2004. "Emotions and Incentives," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse14_2004, University of Bonn, Germany.
  5. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos, 2009. "Performance Pay as an Incentive for Lower Absence Rates in Britain," MPRA Paper 18238, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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