Compensation Matters: Incentives for Multitasking in a Law Firm

Ann Bartel, Brianna Cardiff-Hicks, Kathryn Shaw

NBER Working Paper No. 19412
Issued in September 2013
NBER Program(s):   LS

Due to the limited availability of firm-level compensation data, there is little empirical evidence on the impact of compensation plans on personal productivity. We study an international law firm that moves from high-powered individual incentives towards incentives for "leadership" activities that contribute to the firm's long run profitability. The effect of this change on the task allocation of the firm's team leaders is large and robust; team leaders increase their non-billable hours and shift billable hours to team members. Although the motivation for the change in the compensation plan was the multitasking problem, this change also impacted the way tasks were allocated within each team, resulting in greater teamwork.

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Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19412

Incentives for Lawyers: Moving Away from "Eat-What-You-Kill,” (with Ann Bartel and Brianna Cardiff-Hicks), Industrial and Labor Relations Review, forthcoming.

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