The effect of variable pay schemes on workplace absenteeism is estimated using two cross-sections of private sector British establishments. Establishments that explicitly link pay with individual performance are found to have significantly lower absence rates. The effect is stronger for establishments that offer variable pay schemes to a greater share of their non-managerial workforce. Matched employer–employee data suggest that the effect is robust to a number of sensitivity tests. Establishments that tie a greater proportion of employees’ earnings to variable pay schemes experience lower absence rates. Quintile regressions suggest that the effect is greater among establishments with a higher than average (‘sustainable’) absence rate. Finally, panel data suggest that a feedback mechanism is present; high absenteeism in the past is correlated with a greater future incidence of individual variable pay schemes, which, in turn, is correlated with lower current absence rates.
Pouliakas, K. and Theodoropoulos, N. (2012), "The Effect of Variable Pay Schemes on Workplace Absenteeism", Polachek, S. and Tatsiramos, K. (Ed.) Research in Labor Economics (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 36), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 109-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0147-9121(2012)0000036008Download as .RIS
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