The Response of Worker Effort to Piece Rates: Evidence from the Midwest Logging Industry
Using firm-level payroll data from the Midwest logging industry, I compute a worker’s productivity response to a change in piece-rate pay, an elasticity of effort, using an empirical specification developed in Paarsch and Shearer (1999). Maximum-likelihood estimation of an agency-based structural econometric model of worker choice yields elasticities ranging from 0.413 to 1.507. These estimates are smaller than, but qualitatively similar to, those reported in Paarsch and Shearer, suggesting that their model has perhaps more general applicability than their British Columbia tree-planting example.
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