NIESR Discussion Paper

Has Performance Pay Increased Wage Inequality in Britain?

Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) we show performance pay (PP) increased earnings dispersion among men and women, and to a lesser extent among full-time working women, in the decade of economic growth which ended with the recession of 2008. PP was also associated with some compression in the lower half of the wage distribution for women. The effects were predominantly associated with a broad measure of PP that included bonuses.

The School-to-Work Transtion: An Overview of Two Recent Studies

This paper summarises the findings and insights from two recent studies exploring the nature of the school to work transition in the UK. We set these papers in the context of the broader debate about the youth labour market and highlight their main contributions. This research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

How to Pay for the Crisis or Macroeconomic implications of pension reform

The national debt stock of the UK is rising sharply as a result of the economic crisis, and equilibrium output is falling, with the capital stock contracting. Both problems could be alleviated by the rapid introduction (but slow implementation) of a policy to extend working lives. The paper analyses a delayed extension of working lives in the UK. Increasing working lives will in equilibrium raise consumption and tax revenues and reduce pension spending. These gains by the government can be used to improve services, cut taxes or pay off debts.

Identifying Tax Implicit Equivalence Scales

This paper describes a simple and tractable method for identifying equivalence scales that reflect the value judgements implicit in a tax-benefit system. The approach depends on two identifying assumptions and a functional description for transfer payments that can be estimated using common micro-data. We use this approach to evaluate tax implicit equivalence scales for the UK tax-transfer system that applied in April 2009.

Share Capitalism and Worker Wellbeing

We show that worker wellbeing is not only related to the amount of compensation workers receive but also how they receive it. While previous theoretical and empirical work has often been pre-occupied with individual performance-related pay, we here demonstrate a robust positive link between the receipt of a range of group performance schemes (profit shares, group bonuses and share ownership) and job satisfaction. Critically, this relationship remains after conditioning on wage levels, which suggests these pay methods provide utility to workers in addition to that through higher wages.

Mapping Information Economy Business with Big Data: Findings from the UK

Governments around the world want to develop their ICT and digital industries. Policymakers thus need a clear sense of the size and characteristics of digital businesses, but this is hard to do with conventional datasets and industry codes. This paper uses innovative ‘big data’ resources to perform an alternative analysis at company level, focusing on ICT-producing firms in the UK (which the UK government refers to as the ‘information economy’).

All-Star or Benchwarmer? Relative Age, Cohort Size and Career Success in the NHL

We analyze the performance outcomes of National Hockey League (NHL) players over 18 seasons (1990-1991 to 2007-2008) as a function of the demographic conditions into which they were born. We have three main findings. First, larger birth cohorts substantially affect careers. A player born into a large birth cohort can expect an earnings loss of roughly 18 percent over the course of an average career as compared to a small birth cohort counterpart.

Who fared better? The fortunes of performance-pay and fixed-pay workers through recession

We examine whether those paid for performance fared better in terms of wage growth and job tenure than their fixed pay counterparts through the most recent recession. In theory we might anticipate that, since performance pay workers share the income risks of economic shocks with their employers, their earnings may have declined more than those of fixed pay employees. However, for this very reason, they may experience more stable employment patterns than fixed pay workers whose ‘stickier’ wages may make them susceptible to job loss.

Employee Stock Purchase Plans - Gift or Incentive? Evidence from a Multinational Corporation

Many large listed firms offer workers the opportunity to buy shares in the firm at discounted rates through employee stock purchase plans (ESPP).  The discounted rate creates a gift exchange, where the firm hopes that workers who accept the gift reciprocate with greater loyalty and effort.  But ESPPs diverge from standard gift exchange or efficiency wage models.

Bank Diversification and Valuation: International Evidence

Using a panel of the largest 800 banks from 31 OECD countries between 1998-2012 we investigate whether the diversity of financial institutions affects their valuations. That is whether banks with more diversified operations trade at a premium (reduce risk) or discount (are too complex). We look at both asset diversity and income diversity and price to book and Tobin's q as measures of value. Looking at the whole set we find that it is difficult to empirically verify the role of bank diversity on bank valuations.

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