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The welfare effects of incentive schemes


  • Adam Copeland
  • Cyril Monnet


This paper computes the change in welfare associated with the introduction of incentives. Specifically, we calculate by how much the welfare gains of increased output due to incentives outweigh workers' disutility from increased effort. We accomplish this by studying the use of incentives by a firm in the check-clearing industry. Using this firm's production records, we model and estimate the worker's dynamic effort decision problem. We find that the firm's incentive scheme has a large effect on productivity, raising it by 14% over the sample period. Using our parameter estimates, we show that the cost of increased effort due to incentives is equal to the dollar value of a 9% rise in productivity. Welfare is measured as the output produced minus the cost of effort, hence the net increase in welfare due to the introduction of the firm's bonus plan is 5%. Under a first-best scheme, we find that the net increase in welfare is 6%.

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  • Adam Copeland & Cyril Monnet, 2003. "The welfare effects of incentive schemes," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-08, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2003-08

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    Cited by:

    1. Sanjog Misra & Harikesh Nair, 2011. "A structural model of sales-force compensation dynamics: Estimation and field implementation," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 211-257, September.
    2. Fortin, Bernard & Jacquemet, Nicolas & Shearer, Bruce, 2010. "Labour Supply, Work Effort and Contract Choice: Theory and Evidence on Physicians," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2010-30, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 21 Oct 2010.
    3. Jared Rubin & Anya Samek & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2017. "Loss Aversion and the Quantity-Quality Tradeoff," Working Papers 17-20, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    4. Aviv Nevo & John L. Turner & Jonathan W. Williams, 2016. "Usage‐Based Pricing and Demand for Residential Broadband," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 411-443, March.
    5. Tzioumis, Konstantinos & Gee, Matthew, 2013. "Nonlinear incentives and mortgage officers’ decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 436-453.
    6. Steinar StrØm & John K. Dagsvik, 2006. "Sectoral labour supply, choice restrictions and functional form," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 803-826.
    7. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Steffen Andersen & Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2015. "Carrots That Look Like Sticks: Toward an Understanding of Multitasking Incentive Schemes," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 538-561, January.
    8. Jared Rubin & Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2016. "Incentivizing Quantity and Quality of Output: An Experimental Investigation of The Quantity-Quality Trade-Off," Artefactual Field Experiments 00438, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Paarsch, Harry J. & Shearer, Bruce S., 2009. "The response to incentives and contractual efficiency: Evidence from a field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 481-494, July.
    10. Xavier d'Haultfoeuille & Philippe Février, 2011. "The Provision of Wage Incentives : A Structural Estimation Using Contracts Variation," Working Papers 2011-29, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    11. John Rust & Richard Staelin, 2011. "Rust’s and Staelin’s Comments on: “A structural model of sales force compensation dynamics: estimation and field implementation” by Sanjog Misra and Harikesh Nair," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 259-265, September.
    12. Charles Bellemare & Steeve Marchand & Bruce Shearer, 2016. "Structural Estimation and Experiments: Applications to Contracting Models," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 172(2), pages 342-363, June.

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