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The Welfare Effects of Incentive Schemes

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  • Adam Copeland
  • Cyril Monnet

Abstract

This paper computes the change in welfare associated with the introduction of incentives. We calculate by how much the welfare gains of increased output due to incentives outweigh workers' disutility from increased effort. We accomplish this by studying the use of incentives by a firm in the check-clearing industry. Using this firm's production records, we model and estimate the worker's dynamic effort decision problem. We find that the firm's incentive scheme has a large effect on productivity, raising it by 12% over the sample period for the average worker. Using our parameter estimates, we show that the cost of increased effort due to incentives is equal to the dollar value of a 5% rise in productivity. Welfare is measured as the output produced minus the cost of effort; hence, the net increase in the average worker's welfare due to the introduction of the firm's bonus plan is 7%. Under a first-best scheme, we find that the net increase in welfare is 9%. Copyright , Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Copeland & Cyril Monnet, 2009. "The Welfare Effects of Incentive Schemes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 93-113.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:93-113
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2008.00513.x
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    3. Doug J. Chung & Thomas Steenburgh & K. Sudhir, 2014. "Do Bonuses Enhance Sales Productivity? A Dynamic Structural Analysis of Bonus-Based Compensation Plans," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 33(2), pages 165-187, March.
    4. Sanjog Misra & Harikesh Nair, 2011. "A structural model of sales-force compensation dynamics: Estimation and field implementation," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 211-257, September.
    5. Fortin, Bernard & Jacquemet, Nicolas & Shearer, Bruce, 2010. "Labour Supply, Work Effort and Contract Choice: Theory and Evidence on Physicians," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2010-30, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 21 Oct 2010.
    6. Jared Rubin & Anya Samek & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2018. "Loss aversion and the quantity–quality tradeoff," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(2), pages 292-315, June.
    7. Aviv Nevo & John L. Turner & Jonathan W. Williams, 2016. "Usage‐Based Pricing and Demand for Residential Broadband," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 411-443, March.
    8. Tzioumis, Konstantinos & Gee, Matthew, 2013. "Nonlinear incentives and mortgage officers’ decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 436-453.
    9. Steinar StrØm & John K. Dagsvik, 2006. "Sectoral labour supply, choice restrictions and functional form," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 803-826.
    10. Omar Al‐Ubaydli & Steffen Andersen & Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2015. "Carrots That Look Like Sticks: Toward an Understanding of Multitasking Incentive Schemes," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 81(3), pages 538-561, January.
    11. Jared Rubin & Anya Samek & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2016. "Incentivizing Quantity and Quality of Output: An Experimental Investigation of the Quantity-Quality Trade-off," Working Papers 16-01, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    12. Paarsch, Harry J. & Shearer, Bruce S., 2009. "The response to incentives and contractual efficiency: Evidence from a field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 481-494, July.
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    14. Hugh Macartney & Robert McMillan & Uros Petronijevic, 2015. "Incentive Design in Education: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 21835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Daniel Jones & Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2018. "Paying for what kind of performance? Performance pay and multitasking in mission-oriented jobs," Working Papers 123, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    16. John Rust & Richard Staelin, 2011. "Rust’s and Staelin’s Comments on: “A structural model of sales force compensation dynamics: estimation and field implementation” by Sanjog Misra and Harikesh Nair," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 259-265, September.
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