Who Fared Better? The Fortunes of Performance Pay and Fixed Pay Workers through Recession

Pub. Date
13 June, 2017

Using the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, we explore whether the fortunes of employees paid for performance differ from those of fixed pay workers during recession. Only in the bottom quintile of the wage distribution were performance pay employees more likely to experience greater falls in real wages than fixed pay employees. Accounting for fixed unobserved worker characteristics suggests that this was not due to the wage‚Äźsetting mechanism itself, but that other factors are likely to be at play. While across most of the earnings distribution there was little evidence of greater wage flexibility among performance pay employees, they did have longer job tenure than fixed pay employees over the recession.