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Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence

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

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".

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 679-688

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:6:p:679-688
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  16. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  17. Haraguchi, Kelii H. & Waddell, Glen R., 2007. "Interdependency in Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 2944, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2009. "Large Stakes and Big Mistakes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 451-469.
  19. Leonard Daniel & Long Ngo Van, 2012. "IS EMULATION GOOD FOR YOU? THE UPs AND DOWNs OF RIVALRY," Global Journal of Economics (GJE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(01), pages 1250003-1-1.
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  22. Kräkel, Matthias, 2008. "Emotions in tournaments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 204-214, July.
  23. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  24. Alessandro Lizzeri & Margaret A. Meyer & Nicola Persico, 2002. "The Incentive Effects of Interim Performance Evaluations," Penn CARESS Working Papers 592e9328faf6e775bf331e1c0, Penn Economics Department.
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