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Flexible pay, firm performance and the role of unions. New evidence from Italy

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  • Origo, Federica

Abstract

This paper focuses on the effects of a shift in the firm pay strategy from a fixed wage to a flexible pay scheme on the performance of the "treated" firms. Theory predicts that the introduction of performance-related pay (PRP) may produce both incentive and sorting effects, making the incumbent workers more productive and attracting the most able workers from outside. Furthermore, productivity gains may be shared with the workers through higher wages and heterogeneous effects may be expected by union density. Matching estimates based on panel data for a representative sample of Italian metalworking firms in the 1990s show positive effects on labour productivity (around 7-11%) and to some extent on wages (around 2-3%), while worker sorting is negligible. Estimates by union density suggest that incentive effects are more present in low unionized firms, while wage effects are more significant in highly unionized ones. Extended sensitivity analysis shows that these results are overall robust with respect to the existence of unobserved confounding factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Origo, Federica, 2009. "Flexible pay, firm performance and the role of unions. New evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 64-78, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:1:p:64-78
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    Cited by:

    1. Heung-Jun Jung & Dong-One Kim, 2016. "Good Neighbors but Bad Employers: Two Faces of Corporate Social Responsibility Programs," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 138(2), pages 295-310, October.
    2. Davide Antonioli & Paolo Pini & Roberto Antonietti, 2014. "Flexible pay systems and labour productivity: Evidence from Emilia-Romagna manufacturing firms," Working Papers 2014143, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
    3. Damiani, Mirella & Ricci, Andrea, 2013. "Entrepreneurs’ education and different variable pay schemes in Italian firms," MPRA Paper 46163, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Devicienti, Francesco & Manello, Alessandro & Vannoni, Davide, 2017. "Technical efficiency, unions and decentralized labor contracts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 260(3), pages 1129-1141.
    5. Piero Casadio, 2010. "Firm level wage bargaining and territorial wage differentials: evidence from the Bank of Italy survey on firms," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 241-292.
    6. Paola Gritti & Riccardo Leoni, 2013. "The impact on wages of generic competencies, psychological capital, new work practices and digital technologies," Working Papers (2013-) 1301, University of Bergamo, Department of Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods.
    7. Hentschker, Corinna, 2017. "From dusk till dawn - Are nights a dangerous time for hospital admissions?," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168056, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Anja Deelen & Marloes de Graaf-Zijl & Wiljan van den Berge, 2014. "Labour market effects of job displacement for prime-age and older workers," CPB Discussion Paper 285, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    9. repec:spr:italej:v:3:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40797-016-0046-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mirella Damiani & Fabrizio Pompei & Andrea Ricci, 2013. "Wages and Labour Productivity: the role of performance-related pay in Italian firms," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 124/2013, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
    11. Cecilia Navarra & Ermanno Tortia, 2014. "Employer Moral Hazard, Wage Rigidity, and Worker Cooperatives: A Theoretical Appraisal," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(3), pages 707-726.
    12. Weiyi Zhang & Hiromasa Takahashi & Junyi Shen, 2016. "Does Physical Exercise Affect Tradeoffs between Fixed Pay and Performance-related Pay for Individuals?," Discussion Paper Series DP2016-13, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    13. Michele Battisti & Giovanna Vallanti, 2013. "Flexible Wage Contracts, Temporary Jobs, and Firm Performance: Evidence From Italian Firms," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 737-764, July.
    14. Michele Battisti & Giovanna Vallanti, 2011. "Flexible Wage Contracts, Temporary Jobs and Worker Performance: Evidence from Italian Firms," Working Papers CELEG 1105, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    15. Mirella Damiani & Fabrizio Pompei & Andrea Ricci, 2016. "Performance related pay, productivity and wages in Italy: a quantile regression approach," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 344-371, May.
    16. Mirella Damiani & Andrea Ricci, 2012. "The role of education of entrepreneurs on adoption of different contingent pay schemes: evidence from Italian firms," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 116/2013, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
    17. Matteo Bugamelli & Francesca Lotti & Monica Amici & Emanuela Ciapanna & Fabrizio Colonna & Francesco D’Amuri & Silvia Giacomelli & Andrea Linarello & Francesco Manaresi & Giuliana Palumbo & Filippo Sc, 2018. "Productivity growth in Italy: a tale of a slow-motion change," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 422, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    18. Lucifora, Claudio & Origo, Federica, 2012. "Performance Related Pay and Firm Productivity: New Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 6483, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Maurice J.G. Bun & Leo Huberts, 2016. "The impact of performance pay on sales and fundraising," UvA-Econometrics Working Papers 16-01, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Dept. of Econometrics.

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