NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Performance Pay and Wage Inequality

Thomas Lemieux, W. Bentley MacLeod, Daniel Parent

NBER Working Paper No. 13128
Issued in May 2007
NBER Program(s):   LS

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. We find that compensation in performance-pay jobs is more closely tied to both observed (by the econometrician) and unobserved productive characteristics of workers. 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).

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13128

Published: Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 2009. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 1-49, February.

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