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Why are Small Firms Different? Managers’ Views


  • Jonas Agell


Do incentives in small organizations differ from those in large ones? This paper uses a representative survey of compensation managers to shed light on the issues. I find that (i) small establishments rely less on pecuniary incentives, and have a significantly more hostile attitude towards incentive schemes based on competition and relative rewards; (ii) large units are more vulnerable to mechanisms of efficiency wages, effects that remain even as I control for differences in monitoring ability; (iii) large units are more prone to indicate that negative reciprocity is important, and that their employees care about relative pay. I argue that these findings fit with behavioral stories of incentives and motivation, in particular those stressing group interaction effects, inequity aversion and gift exchange.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonas Agell, 2003. "Why are Small Firms Different? Managers’ Views," CESifo Working Paper Series 1076, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1076

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    13. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. " Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 295-307, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Dur & Amihai Glazer, 2004. "Optimal Incentive Contracts For a Worker Who Envies His Boss," CESifo Working Paper Series 1282, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Ana Ferrer & Stéphanie Lluis, 2008. "Should Workers Care about Firm Size?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(1), pages 104-125, October.

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    -size effect; motivation; relative pay; field-survey; matched data;

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