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Performance Related Pay and Firm Productivity: New Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment in Italy


  • Lucifora, Claudio

    () (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Origo, Federica

    () (University of Bergamo)


This paper investigates the causal effect of a switch from fixed wages to collective performance-related pay on firm productivity, exploiting an exogenous variation in the institutional environment regulating collective bargaining. We find that the introduction of collective performance related pay significantly increases productivity by around 3-5 per cent, but such effect varies greatly by firm size, industry and union density. We show that the design of the PRP scheme – in terms of number and type of parameters used – is also relevant for firm productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucifora, Claudio & Origo, Federica, 2012. "Performance Related Pay and Firm Productivity: New Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 6483, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6483

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Origo, Federica, 2009. "Flexible pay, firm performance and the role of unions. New evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 64-78, January.
    2. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    3. Daniele Checchi & Claudio Lucifora, 2002. "Unions and labour market institutions in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 361-408, October.
    4. Charles Brown, 1992. "Wage Levels and Method of Pay," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 366-375, Autumn.
    5. Corneo, Giacomo & Lucifora, Claudio, 1997. "Wage formation under union threat effects: Theory and empirical evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 265-292, September.
    6. Piero, Casadio, 2003. "Wage formation in the Italian private sector after the 1992-93 income policy agreements," MPRA Paper 29396, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Andrea Brandolini & Piero Casadio & Piero Cipollone & Marco Magnani & Alfonso Rosolia, 2007. "Employment Growth in Italy in the 1990s: Institutional Arrangements and Market Forces," AIEL Series in Labour Economics,in: Nicola Acocella & Riccardo Leoni (ed.), Social Pacts, Employment and Growth. A Reappraisal of Ezio Tarantelli’s Thought, edition 1, chapter 4, pages 31-68 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
    8. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
    9. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    10. Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 1997. "Performance-Related Pay," CEPR Discussion Papers 1593, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2009. "Insider Econometrics: Empirical Studies of How Management Matters," NBER Working Papers 15618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Cahuc, Pierre & Dormont, Brigitte, 1997. "Profit-sharing: Does it increase productivity and employment? A theoretical model and empirical evidence on French micro data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 293-319, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Antonioli & Paolo Pini & Roberto Antonietti, 2014. "Flexible pay systems and labour productivity: Evidence from Emilia-Romagna manufacturing firms," Working Papers 2014143, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
    2. Mirella Damiani & Fabrizio Pompei & Andrea Ricci, 2013. "Wages and Labour Productivity: the role of performance-related pay in Italian firms," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 124/2013, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.

    More about this item


    productivity; unions; performance related pay;

    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
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • L61 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Metals and Metal Products; Cement; Glass; Ceramics

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