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Why are Small Firms Different? Managers' Views

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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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File URL: http://www2.ne.su.se/paper/wp03_09.pdf
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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
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Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

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Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  1. Albaek, Karsten & Arai, Mahmood & Asplund, Rita & Barth, Erling & Strojer Madsen, Erik, 1998. "Measuring wage effects of plant size," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 425-448, December.
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  3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  6. Charles Brown & James L. Medoff, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," NBER Working Papers 2870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Agell, Jonas & Bennmarker, Helge, 2002. "Wage Policy and Endogenous Wage Rigidity: A Representative View from the Inside," Research Papers in Economics 2002:12, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  8. Kenneth R. Troske, 1999. "Evidence On The Employer Size-Wage Premium From Worker-Establishment Matched Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 15-26, February.
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  11. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
  12. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
  13. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  14. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
  15. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1989. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," NBER Working Papers 3105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Mahmood Arai, 2003. "Wages, Profits, and Capital Intensity: Evidence from Matched Worker-Firm Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 593-618, July.
  17. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
  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.
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  22. 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 841-64, October.
  23. Susan Helper, 2000. "Economists and Field Research: "You Can Observe a Lot Just by Watching."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 228-232, May.
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