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The twelve principles of incentive pay


  • Marcel Boyer


In general, incentive pay is not desirable for two main reasons: it puts the worker or employee at risk of fluctuations in his/her wages and it is costly to run. Incentive pay may be explained and justified by four phenomena, which may have important effects on the net benefits of an organization: moral hazard, adverse selection, the need to induce profitable cooperation in organizations, the need to counteract costly or unproductive institutional and/or regulatory constraints. Incentive pay systems should be distinguished from variable pay designed as a risk sharing agreement as such variable pay systems need not be an incentive pay system. Incentive pay should be understood as compensation schemes which create congruence within an organization: incentive pay can contribute to ensuring that the pursuit of individual objectives or interests is canalized towards the achievement of the organization’s goals and objectives. The currently designed compensation formulas may not be the best or optimal ones to achieve the goals set for the organization: hence the need to recall the twelve basic principles.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Boyer, 2011. "The twelve principles of incentive pay," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 121(3), pages 285-306.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:repdal:redp_213_0285

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