A growing literature has found a link between performance-related pay (PRP) and poor health, but the causal direction of the relationship is not known. To address this gap, the current paper utilises a crossover experimental design to randomly allocate subjects into a work task paid either by performance or a fixed payment. Stress is measured through self-reporting and salivary cortisol. The study finds that PRP subjects had significantly higher cortisol levels and self-rated stress than those receiving fixed pay, ceteris paribus. By circumventing issues of self-report and self-selection, these results provide novel evidence for the detrimental effect PRP may have on health.
- perfomance- related pay