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Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity

  • David Gill
  • Victoria Prowse
  • Michael Vlassopoulos

We use an online real-effort experiment to investigate how bonus-based pay and worker productivity interact with workplace cheating.� Firms often use bonus-based compensation plans, such as group bonuses and firm-wide profit sharing, that induce considerable uncertainty in how much workers are paid.� Exposing workers to a compensation scheme based on random bonuses makes them cheat more but has no effect on their productivity.� We also find that more productive workers behave more dishonestly.� These results are consistent with workers' cheating behavior responding to the perceived fairness of their employer's compensation scheme.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 666.

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Date of creation: 08 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:666
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