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Why are Small Firms Different? Managers' Views

Do incentives in small organizations differ from those in large ones? This paper uses a representative survey of compensation managers to shed light on the issues. I find that (i) small establishments rely less on pecuniary incentives, and have a significantly more hostile attitude towards incentive schemes based on competition and relative rewards; (ii) large units are more vulnerable to mechanisms of efficiency wages, effects that remain even as I control for differences in monitoring ability; (iii) large units are more prone to indicate that negative reciprocity is important, and that their employees care about relative pay. I argue that these findings fit with behavioral stories of incentives and motivation, in particular those stressing group interaction effects, inequity aversion and gift exchange.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2003:9.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 25 Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2003_0009
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  17. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  19. Erica L. Groshen, 1988. "Why do wages vary among employers?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 19-38.
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