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Other-Regarding Preferences and Performance Pay – An Experiment on Incentives and Sorting

  • Eriksson, Tor

    ()

    (Aarhus School of Business)

  • Villeval, Marie Claire

    ()

    (CNRS, GATE)

Variable pay not only creates a link between pay and performance but may also help firms in attracting the more productive employees (Lazear 1986, 2000). However, due to lack of natural data, empirical analyses of the relative importance of the selection and incentive effects of pay schemes are so far thin on the ground. In addition, these effects may be influenced by the nature of the relationship between the firm and its employees. This paper reports results of a laboratory experiment that analyzes the influence of other-regarding preferences on sorting and incentives. Experimental evidence shows that (i) the opportunity to switch to piece-rate increases the average level of output and its variance; (ii) there is a concentration of high skill workers in performance pay firms; (iii) however, in repeated interactions, efficiency wages coupled with reciprocity and inequality aversion reduce the attraction of performance related pay. Other-regarding preferences influence both the provision of incentives and their sorting effect.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1191.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1191
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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  2. 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.
  3. Gary Charness & Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel, 2004. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 189-205, 06.
  4. 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.
  5. Daniel Parent, 1999. "Methods of pay and earnings: A longitudinal analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(1), pages 71-86, October.
  6. 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.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2000. "Fairness, incentives, and contractual choices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 1057-1068, May.
  9. Simon Gächter & Ernst Fehr, . "Fairness in the Labour Market – A Survey of Experimental Results," IEW - Working Papers 114, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Do Incentive Contracts Crowd out Voluntary Cooperation?," IEW - Working Papers 034, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  11. Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1998. "The Last American Shoe Manufacturers: Changing the Method of Pay to Survive Foreign Competition," NBER Working Papers 6750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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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