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

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

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 incentivized 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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4010.

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Date of creation: Aug 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4010
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Glenn MacDonald & Leslie M. Marx, 2001. "Adverse Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 864-899, August.
  4. 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.
  5. repec:rus:hseeco:124059 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
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