Incentives in the Public Sector: Some Preliminary Evidence from a UK Government Agency

56 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2003

See all articles by Simon M. Burgess

Simon M. Burgess

University of Bristol - Department of Economics; University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Carol Propper

Imperial College London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO)

Marisa Ratto

Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University

Emma Tominey

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO)

Date Written: August 2003

Abstract

This Paper evaluates the impact of a team-based incentive scheme piloted in the public sector agency, Jobcentre Plus. The way the scheme has been designed raises many questions for which theory makes predictions. We test these predictions against our data. We find that team size affects the impact of the incentive scheme upon performance. Moreover, while the measure of quantity increased in incentivized areas, no improvement was found for the two quality measures. This may reflect concerns related to multi-tasking issues, or may reflect the small sample size available for the quality analysis. Finally, the data suggests that employees participating in the incentive scheme aim to exert a level of effort to ensure the target is achieved, but as additional effort is not rewarded they aim not to exceed this limit.

Keywords: Performance, incentives, public sector, teams

Suggested Citation

Burgess, Simon and Propper, Carol and Ratto, Marisa and Tominey, Emma, Incentives in the Public Sector: Some Preliminary Evidence from a UK Government Agency (August 2003). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=448781

Simon Burgess (Contact Author)

University of Bristol - Department of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom
+44 117 928 8436 (Phone)
+44 117 928 8577 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Economics/department/profiles/burgess.htm

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO)

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Carol Propper

Imperial College London Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) ( email )

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Economics/department/profiles/propper.htm

Marisa Ratto

Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University ( email )

Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny
Paris, 75016
France

Emma Tominey

University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) ( email )

12 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TN
United Kingdom
+44 117 928 9019 (Phone)

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