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Do Salaries Improve Worker Performance?

  • A Bryson
  • B Buraimo
  • R Simmons

We establish the effects of salaries on worker performance by exploiting a natural experiment in which some workers in a particular occupation (football referees) switch from short-term contracts to salaried contracts. Worker performance improves among those who move onto salaried contracts relative to those who do not. The finding is robust to the introduction of worker fixed effects indicating that it is not driven by better workers being awarded salary contracts. Nor is it sensitive to workers sorting into or out of the profession. Improved performance could arise from the additional effort workers exert due to career concerns, the higher income associated with career contracts (an efficiency wage effect) or improvements in worker quality arising from off-the-job training which accompanies the salaried contracts.

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Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 611478.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:611478
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  1. Robert Witt & Neil Rickman, 2005. "Favouritism and financial incentives: A natural experiment," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0105, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  2. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  3. Thomas J. Dohmen, 2008. "The Influence Of Social Forces: Evidence From The Behavior Of Football Referees," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 411-424, 07.
  4. Babatunde Buraimo & David Forrest & Robert Simmons, 2010. "The 12th man?: refereeing bias in English and German soccer," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(2), pages 431-449.
  5. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  6. David Forrest & Ian McHale & Kevin McAuley, 2008. "“Say It Ain’t So”: Betting-Related Malpractice in Sport," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 3(3), pages 156-166, August.
  7. Luis Garicano & Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Canice Prendergast, 2005. "Favoritism Under Social Pressure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 208-216, May.
  8. Bruce Shearer, 2004. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 513-534.
  9. Arijit Mukherjee, 2010. "The optimal disclosure policy when firms offer implicit contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 549-573.
  10. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:1:p:1-49 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Arijit Mukherjee & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Optimal job design in the presence of implicit contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(1), pages 44-69, 03.
  12. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2006. "Incentives for managers and inequality among workers: Evidence from a firm level experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00213, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  15. Sue Fernie & David Metcalf, 1999. "It's Not What You Pay it's the Way that You Pay it and that's What Gets Results: Jockeys' Pay and Performance," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 13(2), pages 385-411, 06.
  16. Kenneth S. Corts, 2007. "Teams versus individual accountability: solving multitask problems through job design," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(2), pages 467-479, 06.
  17. Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson & John Goddard & John Wilson, 2007. "Are football referees really biased and inconsistent?: evidence on the incidence of disciplinary sanction in the English Premier League," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(1), pages 231-250.
  18. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  19. Bruce Shearer, 2004. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 513-534.
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