Saturday, June 02, 2007

Paying People What They Are Worth

This new NBER working paper (free version) is likely to generate some controversy:
Performance Pay and Wage Inequality
We document that an increasing fraction of jobs in the U.S. labor market explicitly pay workers for their performance using bonuses, commissions, or piece-rates....Moreover, the growing incidence of performance-pay can explain 24 percent of the growth in the variance of male wages between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, and accounts for nearly all of the top-end growth in wage dispersion (above the 80th percentile).