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Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender

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  • Dohmen, Thomas
  • Falk, Armin

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of incentives on worker self-selection in a controlled laboratory experiment. Subjects face the choice between a fixed and a variable payment scheme. Depending on the treatment, the variable payment is a piece rate, a tournament or a revenue-sharing scheme. We find that output is higher in the variable pay schemes (piece rate, tournament, and revenue sharing) compared to the fixed payment scheme. This difference is largely driven by productivity sorting. In addition personal attitudes such as willingness to take risks and relative self-assessment as well as gender affect the sorting decision in a systematic way. Moreover, self-reported effort is significantly higher in all variable pay conditions than in the fixed wage condition. Our lab findings are supported by an additional analysis using data from a large and representative sample. In sum, our findings underline the importance of multi-dimensional sorting, i.e., the tendency for different incentive schemes to systematically attract people with different individual characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 360, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:360
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sorting; Incentives; Piece Rates; Tournament; Revenue-Sharing; Risk Preferences; Social Preferences; Gender; Experiment; Field Evidence;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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