Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records
We develop and estimate an agency model of worker behavior under piece rates and fixed wages. The model implies optimal decision rules for the firm's choice of a compensation system as a function of working conditions. Our model also implies an upper and lower bound to the incentive effect (the productivity gain realized by paying workers piece rates rather than fixed wages) that can be estimated using regression methods. Using daily productivity data collected from the payroll records of a British Columbia tree-planting firm, we estimate these bounds to be an 8.8 and a 60.4 percent increase in productivity. Structural estimation, which accounts for the firm's optimal choice of a compensation system, suggests that incentives caused a 22.6 percent increase in productivity. However, only part of this increase represents valuable output because workers respond to incentives, in part, by reducing quality. Copyright 2000 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.
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Volume (Year): 41 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Edward P. Lazear, 2000.
"Performance Pay and Productivity,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Performance Pay and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jones, Derek C & Kato, Takao, 1995. "The Productivity Effects of Employee Stock-Ownership Plans and Bonuses: Evidence from Japanese Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 391-414, June.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
- Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, "undated". "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
- Christopher Ferrall & Bruce S. Shearer, 1994. "Incentives, Team Production, Transaction Costs and the Optimal Contract: Estimates of an Agency Model using Payroll Records," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-12, CIRANO.
- FERRALL, Christopher & SHEARER, Bruce, 1994. "Incentives, Team Production, Transactions Costs, and the Optimal Contract: Estimates of an Agency Model using Payroll Records," Cahiers de recherche 9416, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
- Christopher Ferrall & Bruce Shearer, 1994. "Incentives, Team Production, Transaction Costs, and the Optimal Contract: Estimates of an Agency Model using Payroll Records," Working Papers 908, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:165-182 is not listed on IDEAS
- Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-431, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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