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Performance pay and productivity of low- and high-ability workers

By Ignacio Franceschelli, Sebastian Galiani and Eduardo Gulmez


Existing literature has mainly focused on analyses of the overall effect of a change in the incentive scheme. Lazear (Lazear, E., 2000, "Performance pay and productivity", American Economic Review, 90, 1346-1361.), for example, estimates the average increase in productivity after a firm switches from an hourly-wage scheme to a piece-rate plus basic-wage scheme. His paper does not, however, account for the fact that many workers remained within the basic-wage range after the change was made in the incentive scheme. In the present paper we explore how the incentive effect might have been different for those workers seeking the basic wage, and those workers seeking the piece-rate component of the wage. Interestingly, the change in productivity is approximately the same in percentage terms for both types of workers.Performance pay Two-fold incentive schemes Productivity

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