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Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity

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  • Gill, David
  • Prowse, Victoria
  • Vlassopoulos, Michael

Abstract

We use an online real-effort experiment to investigate how bonus-based pay and worker productivity interact with workplace cheating. Firms often use bonus-based compensation plans, such as group bonuses and firm-wide profit sharing, that induce considerable uncertainty in how much workers are paid. Exposing workers to a compensation scheme based on random bonuses makes them cheat more but has no effect on their productivity. We also find that more productive workers behave more dishonestly. These results are consistent with workers’ cheating behavior responding to the perceived fairness of their employer’s compensation scheme.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 50166.

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Date of creation: 04 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:50166

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Keywords: Bonus; compensation; cheating; dishonesty; lying; employee crime; productivity; slider task; real effort; experiment.;

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Cited by:
  1. Axel Ockenfels & Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner, 2014. "Timing of Kindness - Evidence from a Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4885, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Matteo Bassi & Marco Pagnozzi & Salvatore Piccolo, 2013. "Optimal Contracting with Altruism and Reciprocity," CSEF Working Papers 342, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  3. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria, 2011. "A novel computerized real effort task based on sliders," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1101, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  4. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2012. "Experimental Evidence on the Relationship between Tax Evasion Opportunities and Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 6914, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. David Cooper & David Johnson, 2013. "Ambiguity in Performance Pay: An Online Experiment," Working Papers 2013-27, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 14 Nov 2013.

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