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Performance Pay and Enterprise Productivity: The Details Matter

  • Kato, Takao
  • Kauhanen, Antti

Much of the empirical literature on PRP (Performance Related Pay) focuses on a question of whether the firm can increase firm performance in general and enterprise productivity in particular by introducing PRP and if so, how much. However, not all PRP programs are created equal and PRP programs vary significantly in a variety of attributes. This paper provides novel and rigorous evidence on the productivity effect of varying attributes of PRP and shows that the details of PRP indeed matter. In so doing we exploit the panel nature of our Finnish Linked Employer-Employee Data on the details of PRP. We first establish that the omitted variable bias is serious, makes the cross-sectional estimates on the productivity effect of the details of PRP biased upward substantially. Relying on the fixed effect estimates that account for such bias, we find: (i) group incentive PRP is more potent in boosting enterprise productivity than individual incentive PRP; (ii) group incentive PRP with profitability as a performance measure is especially powerful in raising firm productivity; (iii) when a narrow measure (such as cost reduction) is already used, adding another narrow measure (such as quality improvement) yields no additional productivity gain; and (iv) PRP with greater Power of Incentive (the share of PRP in total compensation) results in greater productivity gains yet returns to Power of Incentive diminishes very slowly.

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Paper provided by The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy in its series ETLA Working Papers with number 21.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 26 Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rif:wpaper:21
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  1. Anne Gielen & Marcel Kerkhofs & Jan Ours, 2010. "How performance related pay affects productivity and employment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 291-301, January.
  2. Jones, Derek C. & Kato, Takao, 2007. "The Impact of Teams on Output, Quality and Downtime: An Empirical Analysis Using Individual Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 2917, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  4. Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley Macleod & Daniel Parent, 2006. "Performance Pay And Wage Inequality," Departmental Working Papers 2006-08, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  5. Chris Doucouliagos, 1995. "Worker participation and productivity in labor-managed and participatory capitalist firms: A meta-analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(1), pages 58-77, October.
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  7. Barton H. Hamilton & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2003. "Team Incentives and Worker Heterogeneity: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Teams on Productivity and Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 465-497, June.
  8. Martin J. Conyon & Richard B. Freeman, 2002. "Shared modes of compensation and firm performance: UK evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20060, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Jones, Derek C & Kato, Takao, 1995. "The Productivity Effects of Employee Stock-Ownership Plans and Bonuses: Evidence from Japanese Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 391-414, June.
  10. Dohmen T.J. & Falk A., 2010. "Performance pay and multi-dimensional sorting - Productivity, preferences and gender," Research Memorandum 012, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  11. Alex Bryson & Richard Freeman, 2008. "How does shared capitalism affect economic performance in the UK?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51596, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2009. "On estimating firm-level production functions using proxy variables to control for unobservables," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 112-114, September.
  13. Douglas L. Kruse, 1993. "Profit Sharing: Does It Make a Difference?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ps, October.
  14. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  15. Kauhanen, Antti & Napari, Sami, 2011. "Career and Wage Dynamics: Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee Data," Discussion Papers 1244, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  16. Alex Bryson & Richard Freeman & Claudio Lucifora & Michele Pellizzari & Virginie Perotin, 2012. "Paying for Performance: Incentive Pay Schemes and Employees' Financial Participation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1112, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  17. Derek C. Jones & Takao Kato & Jeffrey Pliskin, 1999. "Profit Sharing and Gainsharing: A Review of Theory, Incidence, and Effects," Macroeconomics 9903010, EconWPA.
  18. Derek C. Jones & Panu Kalmi & Antti Kauhanen, 2010. "Teams, Incentive Pay, and Productive Efficiency: Evidence from a Food-Processing Plant," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 606-626, July.
  19. Joseph Blasi & Michael Conte & Douglas Kruse, 1996. "Employee stock ownership and corporate performance among public companies," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 60-79, October.
  20. James C. Sesil & Maya K. Kroumova & Joseph R. Blasi & Douglas L. Kruse, 2002. "Broad-based Employee Stock Options in US 'New Economy' Firms," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(2), pages 273-294, 06.
  21. 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.
  22. Joseph Blasi & Michael Conte & Douglas Kruse, 1996. "Employee Stock Ownership and Corporate Performance among Public Companies," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 60-79, October.
  23. Derek C. Jones & Takao Kato, 1993. "Employee Stock Ownership Plans and Productivity in Japanese Manufacturing Firms," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 31(3), pages 331-346, 09.
  24. Kauhanen, Antti & Napari, Sami, 2010. "Performance Measurement and Incentive Plans," Discussion Papers 1216, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  25. Derek C. Jones & Takao Kato, 2011. "The The Impact of Teams on Output, Quality and Downtime: An Empirical Analysis Using Individual Panel Data," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(2), pages 215-240, January.
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