IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Output-Based Pay: Incentives, Retention or Sorting?

  • Lazear, Edward

    ()

    (Stanford University)

Variable pay, defined as pay that is tied to some measure of a firm’s output, has become more important for executives of the typical American firm. Variable pay is usually touted as a way to provide incentives to managers whose interests may not be perfectly aligned with those of owners. The incentive justification for variable pay has well-known theoretical problems and also appears to be inconsistent with much of the data. Alternative explanations are considered. One that has not received much attention, but is consistent with many of the facts, is selection. Managers and industry specialists may have information about a firm’s prospects that is unavailable to outside investors. In order to induce managers to be truthful about prospects, owners may require managers to “put their money where their mouths are,” forcing them to extract some of their compensation in the form of variable pay. The selection or sorting explanation is consistent with the low elasticities of pay to output that are commonly observed, with the fact that the elasticity is higher in small and new firms, with the fact that variable pay is more prevalent in industries with very technical production technologies, and with the fact that stock and stock options are a larger proportion of total compensation for higher level employees. The explanation fits small firms and start-ups better than larger, well-established 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: http://ftp.iza.org/dp761.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 761.

as
in new window

Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Research in Labor Economics, 2004, 23, 1-25
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp761
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: http://www.iza.org

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


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. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Stromberg, 2003. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 281-315, 04.
  2. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "Performance Incentives Within Firms: The Effect of Managerial Responsibility," NBER Working Papers 7334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joseph G. Haubrich, 1991. "Risk aversion, performance pay, and the principal-agent problem," Working Paper 9118, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," NBER Working Papers 6957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
  6. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  7. Paul Oyer & Scott Schaefer, 2004. "Why Do Some Firms Give Stock Options to All Employees?: An Empirical Examination of Alternative Theories," NBER Working Papers 10222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2007. "Personnel Economics," NBER Working Papers 13480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert E. Hall & Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "The Excess Sensitivity of Layoffs and Quits to Demand," NBER Working Papers 0864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lazear, Edward P, 2000. "The Future of Personnel Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F611-39, November.
  11. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  12. Paarsch, Harry J. & Shearer, Bruce, 1997. "Fixed Wages, Piece Rates, and Intertemporal Productivity: a Study of tree Planters in British Columbia," Cahiers de recherche 9702, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  13. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
  14. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
  15. Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Mechanism Design by an Informed Principal," Discussion Papers 481, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1998. "The Last American Shoe Manufacturers: Changing the Method of Pay to Survive Foreign Competition," NBER Working Papers 6750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1983. "The Agent-Agents Problem: Payment by Relative Output," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 50-65, January.
  18. Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Performance Pay and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  20. Gibbons, Robert, 1987. "Piece-Rate Incentive Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 413-29, October.
  21. Mark C. Anderson & Rajiv D. Banker & Sury Ravindran, 2000. "Executive Compensation in the Information Technology Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 530-547, April.
  22. Canice Prendergast, 2000. "What Trade-Off of Risk and Incentives?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 421-425, May.
  23. George P. Baker & Brian J. Hall, 1998. "CEO Incentives and Firm Size," NBER Working Papers 6868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:dp761. 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.