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Piecework versus Timework in British Wartime Engineering

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  • Hart, Robert A.

    () (University of Stirling)

Abstract

The British engineering industry experienced extreme production and employment pressures during the rearmament period that preceded the Second World War and in the early war years. Did it react by placing a greater emphasis on incentive-compatible payment methods? This paper examines the relative employment and wage effects on pieceworkers and timeworkers. Empirical work is based on detailed firm-level payroll data produced by the Engineering Employers Federation covering the period 1935 to 1942. The paper investigates the effects of war on piecework and timework in relation to (a) labour market arguments concerning substitution between payment methods, (b) piece rate/time rate adjustments to changes in product demand, (c) relative changes in employment and hours, and (d) relative changes in hourly and weekly pay.

Suggested Citation

  • Hart, Robert A., 2005. "Piecework versus Timework in British Wartime Engineering," IZA Discussion Papers 1593, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1593
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paarsch, Harry J & Shearer, Bruce, 2000. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 59-92, February.
    2. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
    3. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-480, March.
    4. John S. Heywood & W. S. Siebert & Xiangdong Wei, 1997. "Payment by Results Systems: British Evidence," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 35(1), pages 1-22, March.
    5. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    6. David Card, 1995. "The Wage Curve: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 285-299, June.
    7. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-431, July.
    8. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
    9. Hart, Robert A., 2007. "Women doing men's work and women doing women's work: Female work and pay in British wartime engineering," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 114-130, January.
    10. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of Real Wages within Employer-Employee Matches," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
    11. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hart, Robert A., 2007. "Women doing men's work and women doing women's work: Female work and pay in British wartime engineering," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 114-130, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    piecework; timework; British engineering; World War II;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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