IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Performance Pay, Sorting, and Outsourcing

  • Henneberger, Fred


    (University of St. Gallen)

  • Sousa-Poza, Alfonso


    (University of Hohenheim)

  • Ziegler, Alexandre


    (University of Lausanne)

Implementing performance pay requires that workers' output be measured. When measurement costs differ among firms, those with a measurement cost advantage choose to implement performance pay. They attract the best workers, and both the level and variability of compensation are higher at these firms than at salary firms. Workers may select firms with different compensation methods at different stages of their work life. Productive workers start at performance pay firms and switch to salary firms once their productivity is revealed. The magnitude of the resulting worker flows depends on the payoff from effort and is therefore related to the age profile of the wage differential between performance pay and salary firms. Advantages in measuring worker productivity constitute a plausible explanation for the emergence of specialized business related service (BRS) firms. Accordingly, BRS firms should make a much wider use of performance pay and employ better workers than diversified corporations. Data from the 1998 Swiss Wage Structure Survey confirm the model's predictions both for the economy at large and for BRS firms.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3019.

in new window

Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3019
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ewing, Bradley T., 1996. "Wages and performance-based pay: Evidence from the NLSY," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 241-246, May.
  2. Fama, Eugene F, 1991. "Time, Salary, and Incentive Payoffs in Labor Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 25-44, January.
  3. Andreas Diekmann & Henriette Engelhardt, 1995. "Einkommensungleichheit zwischen Frauen und Männern. Eine ökonometrische Analyse der Schweizer Arbeitskräfteerhebung," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 131(I), pages 57-83, March.
  4. Charles Brown, 1990. "Wage Levels and Method of Pay," NBER Working Papers 3336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Transfer Pricing and Organizational Form," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 201-28, Fall.
  6. 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.
  7. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  8. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  9. repec:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:4:p:1409-1448 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  11. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan K. Taylor, 1993. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1995. "Organizational Diseconomies of Scale," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 399-426, Fall.
  13. Charles Brown, 1989. "Firms' Choice of Method of Pay," NBER Working Papers 3065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. John Geanakoplos & Paul R. Milgrom, 1988. "A Theory of Hierarchies Based on Limited Managerial Attention," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 775R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  15. Lazear, Edward, 2003. "The Peter Principle: A Theory of Decline," IZA Discussion Papers 759, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Daniel Parent, 2001. "The Effect of Pay-for-Performance Contracts on Wages," CIRANO Working Papers 2001s-05, CIRANO.
  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  18. repec:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:1:p:85-120 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. repec:oup:qjecon:v:87:y:1973:i:3:p:355-74 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  21. Seiler, Eric, 1984. "Piece Rate vs. Time Rate: The Effect of Incentives on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 363-76, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3019. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.