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Recent trends in compensation practices

Author

Listed:
  • David E. Lebow
  • Louise Sheiner
  • Lawrence Slifman
  • Martha Starr-McCluer

Abstract

According to some accounts, compensation practices have recently been undergoing marked changes, with an increasing number of firms said to be substituting lump-sum payments for regular pay increases, allowing for greater variability of remuneration across individuals or groups, and making greater use of profit sharing or stock options. Many of these practices are outside the scope of the typical measures of economy-wide compensation growth. Moreover, intensified use of these schemes ought to heighten the responsiveness of overall compensation costs to business conditions and could also, in theory, boost productivity. We find that the spreading use of these practices could be leading to an understatement of the annual growth rate of actual employment costs (relative to the published employment cost index) that is not insignificant--perhaps on the order of three-tenths of a percentage point currently. Moreover, the changes have apparently helped to increase the flexibility of pay both across time and across workers. In addition, by linking pay more closely to performance, the firms we contacted seemed to think that their employees were working more efficiently and with an eye to enhancing the "bottom line" of the company.

Suggested Citation

  • David E. Lebow & Louise Sheiner & Lawrence Slifman & Martha Starr-McCluer, 1999. "Recent trends in compensation practices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-32, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-32
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Philippe Askenazy & Xavier Timbeau, 2003. "Partage de la valeur ajoutée et rentabilité du capital en France et aux États-Unis : une réévaluation ; suivi d'un commentaire de Xavier Timbeau," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 363(1), pages 167-189.
    2. Martha A. Starr, 2014. "Qualitative And Mixed-Methods Research In Economics: Surprising Growth, Promising Future," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 238-264, April.
    3. Derek Jones & Panu Kalmi & Mikko Mäkinen, 2010. "The productivity effects of stock option schemes: evidence from Finnish panel data," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, February.
    4. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2096, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    5. Hamid Mehran & Joseph Tracy, 2001. "The effect of employee stock options on the evolution of compensation in the 1990s," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 17-34.
    6. Karnizova Lilia, 2012. "News Shocks, Productivity and the U.S. Investment Boom-Bust Cycle," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-50, June.
    7. Arindrajit Dube & Richard B. Freeman, 2010. "Complementarity of Shared Compensation and Decision-Making Systems: Evidence from the American Labor Market," NBER Chapters,in: Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options, pages 167-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hamid Mehran & Joseph Tracy, 2001. "The Impact of Employee Stock Options on the Evolution of Compensation in the 1990s," NBER Working Papers 8353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Robert W. Rich & Donald Rissmiller, 2001. "Structural change in U.S. wage determination," Staff Reports 117, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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    Keywords

    Wages ; Stocks;

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