Working Paper 09/215 - abstract

Smarter Task Assignment or Greater Effort: the impact of incentives on team performance (PDF, 221kB)

Simon Burgess, Carol Propper, Marisa Ratto, Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder and Emma Tominey

We use an experiment to study the impact of team-based incentives, exploiting rich data from personnel records and management information systems. Using a triple difference design, we show that the incentive scheme had an impact on team performance, even with quite large teams. We examine whether this effect was due to increased effort from workers or strategic task reallocation. We find that the provision of financial incentives did raise individual performance but that managers also disproportionately reallocated efficient workers to the incentivised tasks. We show that this reallocation was the more important contributor to the overall outcome.