Performance Pay and Workplace Injury: Panel Evidence
20 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2016
Date Written: December 2015
Using panel survey data, we show cross‐sectional evidence of an elevated risk of workplace injury for those paid piece rates and bonuses. While consistent with Adam Smith's behavioural conjecture, this could simply reflect sorting across workers or firms. In response we successively control for a risk proxy, for worker fixed effects and for worker with employer match fixed effects. No previous examination has controlled for such fixed effects or examined US survey data. The estimates indicate that injury risk increases substantially when blue‐collar (manual) workers become paid by piece rates and bonuses.
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