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Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence

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  • Eriksson, Tor
  • Poulsen, Anders
  • Villeval, Marie Claire

Abstract

This paper experimentally investigates the impact of different pay schemes and relative performance feedback policies on employee effort. We explore three feedback rules: no feedback on relative performance, feedback given halfway through the production period, and continuously updated feedback. We use two pay schemes, a piece rate and a tournament. We find that overall feedback does not improve performance. In contrast to the piece-rate pay scheme there is some evidence of positive peer effects in tournaments since the underdogs almost never quit the competition even when lagging significantly behind, and front runners do not slack off. But in both pay schemes relative performance feedback reduces the quality of the low performers' work; we refer to this as a "negative quality peer effect".

Suggested Citation

  • Eriksson, Tor & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2009. "Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 679-688, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:6:p:679-688
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tournament Piece rate Peer effects Feedback Evaluation Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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