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Performance pay, risk attitudes and job satisfaction

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  • Cornelissen, Thomas
  • Heywood, John S.
  • Jirjahn, Uwe

Abstract

We present a model in which workers with greater ability and greater risk tolerance move into performance pay jobs to capture rents and contrast it with the classic agency model. Estimates from the German Socio-Economic Panel confirm testable implications drawn from our model. First, before controlling for earnings, workers in performance pay jobs have higher job satisfaction, a proxy for on-the-job utility. Second, after controlling for earnings, workers in jobs with performance pay have the same job satisfaction as those not in such jobs. Third, those workers in performance pay jobs who have greater risk tolerance routinely report greater job satisfaction. While these findings support models in which workers capture rent, they would not be suggested by the classic agency model.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornelissen, Thomas & Heywood, John S. & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2011. "Performance pay, risk attitudes and job satisfaction," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 229-239, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:2:p:229-239
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performance pay Worker heterogeneity Ability Risk preferences Sorting;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • 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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