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Why Does Performance Pay De-Motivate: Financial Incentives versus Perfrormance Appraisal


  • Stephen French
  • Katsuyuki Kubo
  • David Marsden


The sheer scale and speed of the shift of payment system from time-based salaries to performance-related pay, PRP, in the British public services provides a unique opportunity to test the effects of incentive pay schemes. This study is based on the first large scale survey designed to measure the effects of performance related pay on employee motivation and work behaviour across the British public services. While there is evidence of a clear incentive effect for those gaining above average PRP, it is likely that it is offset by a more widespread demotivating effect arising from difficulties of measuring performance fairly. Organisational commitment appears to offset some of the negative effects of PRP.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen French & Katsuyuki Kubo & David Marsden, 2000. "Why Does Performance Pay De-Motivate: Financial Incentives versus Perfrormance Appraisal," CEP Discussion Papers dp0476, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0476

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Burgess, Simon & Turon, Helene, 2000. "Unemployment dynamics, duration and equilibrium: evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20162, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. F Green & Steven McIntosh, 2000. "Working on the Chain Gang? An Examination of Rising Effort Levels in Europe in the 1990s," CEP Discussion Papers dp0465, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Nickell, Stephen & Nunziata, Luca, 2000. "Employment patterns in OECD countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20198, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    Cited by:

    1. Steinar Holden, 2012. "Implications of insights from behavioral economics for macroeconomic models," IMK Working Paper 99-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    2. Driscoll, John C. & Holden, Steinar, 2014. "Behavioral economics and macroeconomic models," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 133-147.
    3. David Marsden, 2004. "Unions and Procedural Justice: An Alternative to the Common Rule," CEP Discussion Papers dp0613, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    More about this item


    Performance related pay; incentives; performance measurement; organisational commitment; public sector;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General


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