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The Allocation of Merit Pay in Academia: A Case Study

Author

Listed:
  • Finn Christensen

    () (Towson University)

  • James Manley

    () (Towson University)

  • Louise Laurence

    () (Towson University)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether the widespread awarding of faculty merit pay at a large public university accurately reflects productivity. We show that pairwise voting on a quality standard by a committee can in theory be consistent with observed allocation patterns. However, the data indicate only nominal adherence to a quality standard. Departments with more severe compression issues are more likely to award merit pay as a countermeasure and some departments appear to be motivated by nonpecuniary incentives. Much of the variance in merit pay allocation remains unexplained. These results suggest reform is needed to improve transparency in the merit system.

Suggested Citation

  • Finn Christensen & James Manley & Louise Laurence, 2011. "The Allocation of Merit Pay in Academia: A Case Study," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(2), pages 1548-1562.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-11-00028
    as

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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2011/Volume31/EB-11-V31-I2-P144.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2004. "An Empirical Investigation of Gaming Responses to Explicit Performance Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 23-56, January.
    2. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 285-300, Summer.
    3. Thomas S. Dee & Benjamin J. Keys, 2004. "Does merit pay reward good teachers? Evidence from a randomized experiment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 471-488.
    4. French, Stephen & Kubo, Katsuyuki & Marsden, David, 2001. "Does performance pay de-motivate, and does it matter?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3637, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Belfield, Clive R. & Heywood, John S., 2008. "Performance pay for teachers: Determinants and consequences," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 243-252, June.
    6. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2003. "Dynamics of Performance-Measurement Systems," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 268-284, Summer.
    7. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
    8. Michael J. Podgursky & Matthew G. Springer, 2007. "Teacher performance pay: A review," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 909-950.
    9. Antony Dnes & Nuno Garoupa, 2005. "Academic Tenure, Posttenure Effort, and Contractual Damages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(4), pages 831-839, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    merit; faculty compensation;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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