Performance Pay and Stress: An Experimental Study

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

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Recent economics literature suggests a link between performance pay and ill health, potentially through the adverse effects of performance pay on stress. This project examines this issue using an experimental design that purges the effects of self-selection into performance pay and identifies the direction of causation from performance pay to stress. Results find that those who are paid for their performance experience higher levels of stress, both in terms of perceived stress and objectively measured cortisol levels, than those who are paid by a minimum performance contract.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen: Business School
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

Publication series

NameDiscussion Paper in Economics
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen
ISSN (Electronic)0143-4543


  • performance-related pay
  • real-effort experiment
  • stress
  • cortisol


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