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Incentives in the Public Sector: Some Preliminary Evidence from a UK Government Agency

Author

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  • Simon Burgess
  • Carol Propper
  • Marisa Ratto
  • Emma Tominey

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Abstract

This paper evaluates the impact of a team-based incentive scheme piloted in the public sector agency, Jobcentre Plus. The way the scheme has been designed raises many questions for which theory makes predictions. We test these predictions against our data. We find that team size affects the impact of the incentive scheme upon performance. Moreover, while the measure of quantity increased in incentivised areas, no improvement was found for the two quality measures. This may reflect concerns related to multi-tasking issues, or may reflect the small sample size available for the quality analysis. Finally, the data suggests that employees participating in the incentive scheme aim to exert a level of effort to ensure the target is achieved, but as additional effort is not rewarded they aim not to exceed this limit.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Marisa Ratto & Emma Tominey, 2003. "Incentives in the Public Sector: Some Preliminary Evidence from a UK Government Agency," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/080, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:03/080
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    File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp80.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:rus:hseeco:124059 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 285-300, Summer.
    3. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    4. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-636, May.
    5. Glenn MacDonald & Leslie M. Marx, 2001. "Adverse Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 864-899, August.
    6. Simon Burgess & Marisa Ratto, 2003. "The Role of Incentives in the Public Sector: Issues and Evidence," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/071, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

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    1. Let’s keep it strictly C.O.D.
      by Matt in Aid Thoughts on 2009-07-20 11:00:16

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Koning & J. Vyrastekova & S. Onderstal, 2006. "Team incentives in public organisations; an experimental study," CPB Discussion Paper 60, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    2. Courty, Pascal & Kim, Do Han & Marschke, Gerald, 2011. "Curbing cream-skimming: Evidence on enrolment incentives," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 643-655, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentives; public sector; teams; performance;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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