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Performance Appraisals and the Impact of Forced Distribution: An Experimental Investigation

  • Berger, Johannes


    (University of Cologne)

  • Harbring, Christine


    (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Sliwka, Dirk


    (University of Cologne)

A real effort experiment is investigated in which supervisors have to rate the performance of individual workers who in turn receive a bonus payment based on these ratings. We compare a baseline treatment in which supervisors were not restricted in their rating behavior to a forced distribution system in which they had to assign differentiated grades. We find that productivity was significantly higher under a forced distribution by about 8%. But also in the absence of forced distribution, deliberate differentiation positively affected output in subsequent work periods.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5020.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Management Science, 2013, 59 (1), 54-68
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5020
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