Paying for Productivity: A Look at the Evidence

Brookings Institution Press
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Will higher pay provide an incentive for better work? Can productivity be increased by changing the way workers are compensated? In response to the urgent need to improve productivity performance in American industry, leading economists examine alternative compensation schemes to assess their efficiency in raising productivity.

Over the years a number of suggestions have been made for improving labor productivity by changing the manner in which laborers are compensated for their efforts. The ideas presented and analyzed in this volume have all been put into practice, in modified form or on a small scale, in the United States or elsewhere. Some are new; others quite old.

David I. Levine and Laura D'Andrea Tyson consider the effects of employee participation in decisionmaking on firm performance, and Martin L. Weitzman and Douglas L. Kruse discuss the implications of profit sharing and related forms of pay for group performance. Michael A. Conte and Jan Svejnar analyze employee stock ownership plans in the United States and other forms of worker ownership in Europe; Masanore Hashimoto uses a transaction-cost perspective to assess Japanese employment and wage systems. Daniel J. B. Mitchell, David Lewin, and Edward E. Lawler III give an overall analysis of traditional and alternative pay systems, their history, development, and curent use, and recommend further experimentation with alternative compensation plans to ensure more adaptability on the part of U.S. firms. Blinder provides an overview of the findings and conclusions.

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About the author

Alan S. Blinder is the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and codirector of the Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton University. He is also a partner in Promontory Financial Group and vice chairman of the G7 Group. He served as vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from June 1994 until January 1996 and as a member of President Clinton's original Council of Economic Advisers from January 1993 until June 1994.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 2011
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Pages
308
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ISBN
9780815717126
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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New York Times Bestseller

One of our wisest and most clear-eyed economic thinkers offers a masterful narrative of the crisis and its lessons.

Many fine books on the financial crisis were first drafts of history—books written to fill the need for immediate understanding. Alan S. Blinder, esteemed Princeton professor, Wall Street Journal columnist, and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, held off, taking the time to understand the crisis and to think his way through to a truly comprehensive and coherent narrative of how the worst economic crisis in postwar American history happened, what the government did to fight it, and what we can do from here—mired as we still are in its wreckage.

With bracing clarity, Blinder shows us how the U.S. financial system, which had grown far too complex for its own good—and too unregulated for the public good—experienced a perfect storm beginning in 2007. Things started unraveling when the much-chronicled housing bubble burst, but the ensuing implosion of what Blinder calls the “bond bubble” was larger and more devastating. Some people think of the financial industry as a sideshow with little relevance to the real economy—where the jobs, factories, and shops are. But finance is more like the circulatory system of the economic body: if the blood stops flowing, the body goes into cardiac arrest. When America’s financial structure crumbled, the damage proved to be not only deep, but wide. It took the crisis for the world to discover, to its horror, just how truly interconnected—and fragile—the global financial system is. Some observers argue that large global forces were the major culprits of the crisis. Blinder disagrees, arguing that the problem started in the U.S. and was pushed abroad, as complex, opaque, and overrated investment products were exported to a hungry world, which was nearly poisoned by them.

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Two leading economists discuss a range of issues relating to the “offshoring” of American jobs, from free trade to unemployment levels.

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