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Performance Pay, Sorting and Social Motivation

  • Tor Eriksson


    (Department of economics - University of Aarhus)

  • Marie Claire Villeval


    (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines)

Variable pay links pay and performance but may also help firms in attracting more productive employees. Our experiment investigates the impact of performance pay on both incentives and sorting and analyzes the influence of repeated interactions between firms and employees on these effects. We show that (i) the opportunity to switch from a fixed wage to variable pay scheme increases the average effort level and its variance; (ii) high skill employees concentrate under the variable pay scheme; (iii) however, in repeated interactions, efficiency wages reduce the attraction of performance pay. Social motivation and reputation influence both the provision of incentives and their sorting effect.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00331753.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00331753
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 407-426, April.
  2. W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 1998. "Job Characteristics and the Form of Compensation," CIRANO Working Papers 98s-08, CIRANO.
  3. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  4. Daniel Parent, 1997. "Methods of Pay and Earnings: A Longitudinal Analysis," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-14, CIRANO.
  5. Jason Barro & Nancy Beaulieu, 2003. "Selection and Improvement: Physician Responses to Financial Incentives," NBER Working Papers 10017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 360, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  7. Bellemare, Charles & Shearer, Bruce, 2010. "Sorting, incentives and risk preferences: Evidence from a field experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 345-348, September.
  8. Marianne Bertrand, 2004. "From the Invisible Handshake to the Invisible Hand? How Import Competition Changes the Employment Relationship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 723-766, October.
  9. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2006. "Self-Selection and the Efficiency of Tournaments," Working Papers 0603, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  10. Malcomson, J., 1998. "Individual employment contracts," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9804, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  11. Dickinson, David & Villeval, Marie-Claire, 2008. "Does monitoring decrease work effort?: The complementarity between agency and crowding-out theories," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 56-76, May.
  12. Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 1999. "Earnings, Productivity, and Performance-Related Pay," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 447-63, July.
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  15. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
  16. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, . "Fairness, Incentives, and Contractual Choices," IEW - Working Papers 020, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  17. Daniel Nagin & James Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
  19. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedl, Arno, 1996. "Involuntary Unemployment and Non-compensating Wage Differentials in an Experimental Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 106-21, January.
  20. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997. "Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  21. Harry J. Paarsch & Bruce S. Shearer, 1999. "The Response of Worker Effort to Piece Rates: Evidence from the British Columbia Tree-Planting Industry," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 643-667.
  22. Falk, Armin & Gachter, Simon & Kovacs, Judit, 1999. "Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic incentives in a repeated game with incomplete contracts," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 251-284, June.
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