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The Perils of Altering Incentive Plans: A Case Study


  • Antti Kauhanen


This paper studies a retail chain that introduced a sales incentive plan that rewarded for exceeding a sales target and subsequently cut the incentive intensity in addition to increasing the target. Utilizing monthly panel data for 54 months for all 53 units of the chain the paper shows that the introduction of the sales incentive plan increased sales and profitability, while the changes in the plan lead to a marked drop in sales and profitability. Thus, modifying the incentive plan proved costly for the firm. The results are consistent with the gift-exchange model of labor contracts.
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Suggested Citation

  • Antti Kauhanen, 2011. "The Perils of Altering Incentive Plans: A Case Study," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(6), pages 371-384, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:32:y:2011:i:6:p:371-384

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cullen, Julie Berry & Jacob, Brian A. & Levitt, Steven D., 2005. "The impact of school choice on student outcomes: an analysis of the Chicago Public Schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 729-760, June.
    2. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
    3. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 2003. "School Choice and School Productivity. Could School Choice Be a Tide that Lifts All Boats?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of School Choice, pages 287-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Goldhaber, Dan D. & Brewer, Dominic J. & Eide, Eric R. & Rees, Daniel I., 1999. "Testing for sample selection in the Milwaukee school choice experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 259-267, April.
    5. Stephen Gibbons & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2008. "Choice, Competition, and Pupil Achievement," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 912-947, June.
    6. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
    7. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
    8. Bratti, Massimiliano & Checchi, Daniele & Filippin, Antonio, 2007. "Territorial Differences in Italian Students’ Mathematical Competencies: Evidence from PISA 2003," IZA Discussion Papers 2603, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Giorgio Brunello & Lorenzo Rocco, 2008. "Educational Standards in Private and Public Schools," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1866-1887, November.
    10. Buddin, Richard J. & Cordes, Joseph J. & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1998. "School Choice in California: Who Chooses Private Schools?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 110-134, July.
    11. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Do Private Schools Provide Competition for Public Schools?," NBER Working Papers 4978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. M. De Paola & V. Scoppa, 2007. "Returns to skills, incentives to study and optimal educational standards," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 92(3), pages 229-262, December.
    13. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1998. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 553-602.
    15. Lankford R. H. & Lee E. S. & Wyckoff J. H., 1995. "An Analysis of Elementary and Secondary School Choice," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 236-251, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kato, Takao & Kauhanen, Antti & Salmi, Julia, 2013. "Empirical Evidence on the Dynamics of Incentive Plans," ETLA Working Papers 20, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    2. Kato, Takao & Kauhanen, Antti & Kujansuu, Essi, 2013. "The Performance Effects of Individual and Group Incentives: A Case Study," ETLA Working Papers 19, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence


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