IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecm/nasm04/277.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Relative and Absolute Incentives: Evidence on Worker Productivity

Author

Listed:
  • Oriana Bandiera (STICERD
  • LSE

Abstract

Using personnel data, we compare worker productivity under a relative incentive scheme -where pay is based on individual productivity relative to the average productivity of the group- to productivity under piece rates. We find that productivity is at least 50% higher under piece rates. Further analysis shows this is due to workers partially internalizing the negative externality their effort imposes on others under the relative incentive scheme. Workers internalize this externality to a greater extent when they work with fewer co-workers, and a greater share of their coworkers are their close friends. The relationship among workers has no affect on productivity under piece rates

Suggested Citation

  • Oriana Bandiera (STICERD & LSE, 2004. "Relative and Absolute Incentives: Evidence on Worker Productivity," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 277, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:277
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://repec.org/esNASM04/up.14934.1075402686.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Levine, David K. & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 2007. "The evolution of cooperation through imitation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 293-315, February.
    2. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    4. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    5. Bhaskar, V, 2002. "Relative Performance Evaluation and Limited Liability," Economics Discussion Papers 8852, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    6. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
    7. Harry J. Paarsch & Bruce Shearer, 1997. "Fixed Wages, Piece Rates, and Intertemporal Productivity: A Study of Tree Planters in British Columbia," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-01, CIRANO.
    8. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    9. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    10. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
    11. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-364, June.
    12. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
    13. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Mohamed Salah Matoussi, 1995. "Moral Hazard, Financial Constraints and Sharecropping in El Oulja," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 381-399.
    14. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
    15. Knoeber, Charles R & Thurman, Walter N, 1994. "Testing the Theory of Tournaments: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 155-179, April.
    16. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    17. Barton H. Hamilton & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2003. "Team Incentives and Worker Heterogeneity: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Teams on Productivity and Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 465-497, June.
    18. Jones, Derek C & Kato, Takao, 1995. "The Productivity Effects of Employee Stock-Ownership Plans and Bonuses: Evidence from Japanese Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 391-414, June.
    19. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-580, June.
    20. Sethi, Rajiv & Somanathan, E., 2001. "Preference Evolution and Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 273-297, April.
    21. Oliver Hart, 2001. "Norms and the Theory of the Firm," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1923, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    22. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1987. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 1-33, February.
    23. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1990. "The Incentive Effects of Tournaments Revisited: Evidence from the European PGA Tour," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 74, April.
    24. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 1-33, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Singh, Prakarsh & Mitra, Sandip, 2017. "Incentives, information and malnutrition: Evidence from an experiment in India," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 24-46.
    2. Steffen Huck & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2006. "Endogenous Leadership in Teams," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(2), pages 253-261, June.
    3. Kong-Pin Chen, 2005. "External Recruitment as an Incentive Device," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 259-278, April.
    4. Pedro Rey Biel, 2005. "Equilibrium Play and Best Response in Sequential Constant Sum Games," Experimental 0506004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jose Luiz Barros Fernandes & Juan Ignacio Pena & Benjamin Miranda Tabak, 2010. "Delegated portfolio management and risk-taking behavior," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 353-372.
    6. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    7. Paarsch, Harry J. & Shearer, Bruce S., 2007. "Do women react differently to incentives? Evidence from experimental data and payroll records," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1682-1707, October.
    8. Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Endogenous versus exogenous allocation of prizes in teams--Theory and experimental evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 519-549, October.
    9. Martin, Pardupa, 2007. "Cooperation or rivalry? Employee’s effort and appropriate knowledge distribution as key elements for maximizing the profit of the firm," MPRA Paper 26428, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    2. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2373-2437 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bingley, P. & Eriksson, T, 2001. "Pay Spread and Skewness. Employee Effort and Firm Productivity," Papers 01-2, Aarhus School of Business - Department of Economics.
    4. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, December.
    5. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie‐Claire Villeval, 2009. "Self‐Selection And The Efficiency Of Tournaments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(3), pages 530-548, July.
    6. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    7. Michael Waldman, 2012. "Theory and Evidence in Internal Labor Markets," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    8. Haß, Lars Helge & Müller, Maximilian A. & Vergauwe, Skrålan, 2015. "Tournament incentives and corporate fraud," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 251-267.
    9. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2004. "Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 1340, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Garicano, Luis & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2005. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Making the Beautiful Game a Bit Less Beautiful," CEPR Discussion Papers 5231, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    12. Benno Torgler & Sascha L. Schmidt & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "The Power of Positional Concerns: A Panel Analysis," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-19, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    13. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
    14. Kräkel, Matthias, 2004. "Emotions and Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 1270, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Jones, Michael D., 2013. "Teacher behavior under performance pay incentives," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 148-164.
    16. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2007. "Personnel Economics: The Economist's View of Human Resources," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
    17. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 39-77.
    18. Hong, Fuhai & Hossain, Tanjim & List, John A., 2015. "Framing manipulations in contests: A natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 372-382.
    19. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Arjan Non & Willem Verbeke, 2015. "The Effects of Prize Spread and Noise in Elimination Tournaments: A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(3), pages 521-569.
    20. Bernd Irlenbusch, 2006. "Experimental perspectives on incentives in organisations," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 14(1), pages 1-24, February.
    21. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Effort Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Post-Print halshs-00142876, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    absolute incentives; relative incentives; social preferences.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:277. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/essssea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christopher F. Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/essssea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.