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Performance Pay and Earnings: Evidence from Personnel Records

Author

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  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas

    (VATT, Helsinki)

  • Riddell, Chris

    (University of Waterloo)

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of performance pay on earnings using linked employee-employer panel data from Finland. These payroll data contain information on the exact share of earnings obtained and hours worked on a performance pay contract. Using these data, we estimate the effects of performance pay in the presence of both individual and firm-specific unobserved heterogeneity. Furthermore, we are able to estimate the effects of performance pay contracts in tasks of different complexity and for the subsample of workers who change jobs following an establishment closure. Unobservable firm characteristics explain 30-50% of the variance in performance pay. After controlling for unobservable individual and firm characteristics, performance pay workers earn substantially more than fixed rate workers. The effects persist when only workers who changed firms, and contracts, due to an establishment closure are used for identification. There is also a strong, negative relationship between job complexity and the incentive effects of performance pay. Finally, we exploit several ‘natural experiments’ where there was a compensation regime change in one plant of a given firm, but not in other plants. The plants are highly similar pre-regime change, and had a common trend in earnings pre-regime change. These experiments also yield substantial earnings premiums.

Suggested Citation

  • Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Riddell, Chris, 2006. "Performance Pay and Earnings: Evidence from Personnel Records," IZA Discussion Papers 2253, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2253
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    Cited by:

    1. Keith Bender & Colin Green & John Heywood, 2012. "Piece rates and workplace injury: Does survey evidence support Adam Smith?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 569-590, January.
    2. Artz, Benjamin & Heywood, John S., 2022. "Performance Pay and Work Hours: US Survey Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 15412, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Baktash, Mehrzad B., 2023. "Overeducation, Performance Pay and Wages: Evidence from Germany," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1327, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Böckerman, Petri & Bryson, Alex & Viinikainen, Jutta & Hakulinen, Christian & Pulkki-Råback, Laura & Raitakari, Olli & Pehkonen, Jaakko, 2017. "Biomarkers and long-term labour market outcomes: The case of creatine," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 259-274.
    5. repec:lan:wpaper:3007 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mehrzad B. Baktash & John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2022. "Performance pay and alcohol use in Germany," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 353-383, October.
    7. Benjamin Artz & Colin P. Green & John S. Heywood, 2021. "Does performance pay increase alcohol and drug use?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(3), pages 969-1002, July.
    8. repec:lan:wpaper:2913 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Thomas R. Berry-Stölzle & David L. Eckles, 2019. "It’s about building a book of business: incentives of insurance salespersons from future renewals," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 44(4), pages 702-731, October.
    10. Erling Barth & Bernt Bratsberg & Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2008. "Performance Pay and Within-Firm Wage Inequality," Discussion Papers 535, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    11. Baktash, Mehrzad B. & Heywood, John S. & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2023. "Does Performance Pay Increase the Risk of Marital Instability?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1305, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    12. Mudambi, Ram & Swift, Tim, 2009. "Professional guilds, tension and knowledge management," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 736-745, June.
    13. Mirella Damiani & Fabrizio Pompei & Andrea Ricci, 2023. "Tax breaks for incentive pay, productivity and wages: Evidence from a reform in Italy," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 61(1), pages 188-213, March.
    14. Baktash, Mehrzad B. & Heywood, John S. & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2022. "Worker stress and performance pay: German survey evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 201(C), pages 276-291.
    15. repec:lan:wpaper:2915 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Papps, Kerry L., 2010. "Productivity under Large Pay Increases: Evidence from Professional Baseball," IZA Discussion Papers 5133, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Maczulskij, Terhi & Haapanen, Mika & Kauhanen, Antti & Riukula, Krista, 2021. "Dark Half: Decentralized Bargaining and Well-being at Work," ETLA Working Papers 89, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    18. Harald Dale-Olsen, 2014. "Sickness Absence, Sick Leave Pay, and Pay Schemes," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 28(1), pages 40-63, March.
    19. Böckerman, Petri & Bryson, Alex & Viinikainen, Jutta & Hakulinen, Christian & Pulkki-Råback, Laura & Raitakari, Olli & Pehkonen, Jaakko, 2017. "Biomarkers and long-term labour market outcomes: The case of creatine," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 259-274.
    20. Petri Bockerman & Alex Bryson & Christian Hakulinen & Jaakko Pehkonen & Laura Pulkki-Raback & Olli Raitakari & Jutta Viinikainen, 2014. "Biomarkers and Long-term Market Outcomes: The Case of Creatine," CEP Discussion Papers dp1279, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    21. Westling, Tatu, 2011. "Incentive pay and gender gaps in the Nordic countries," MPRA Paper 33083, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Uusitalo, Roope, 2012. "Aging and Productivity: Evidence from Piece Rates," IZA Discussion Papers 6909, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    23. Green, Colin P. & Heywood, John S., 2023. "Performance pay, work hours and employee health in the UK," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    24. Axel Engellandt & Regina T. Riphahn, 2011. "Evidence on Incentive Effects of Subjective Performance Evaluations," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(2), pages 241-257, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    piece rates; performance pay; incentives;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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