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Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender

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  • Thomas Dohmen
  • Armin Falk

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of incentives on worker self-selection in a controlled laboratory experiment. Subjects face the choice between a fixed and a variable payment scheme. Depending on the treatment, the variable payment is a piece rate, a tournament, or a revenue-sharing scheme. We find that output is higher in the variable-payment schemes compared to the fixed-payment scheme. This difference is largely driven by productivity sorting. In addition, different incentive schemes systematically attract individuals with different attitudes, such as willingness to take risks and relative self-assessment as well as gender, which underlines the importance of multidimensional sorting. (JEL C91, D81, D82, J16, J31)

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 556-590, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:2:p:556-90
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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