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Fixed Wages, Piece Rates, and Intertemporal Productivity: A Study of Tree Planters in British Columbia

We examine the effects of different sequences of work and rest on the daily productivity of workers who planted trees in the province of British Columbia, Canada, comparing the intertemporal productivity profiles of planters who were paid either fixed wages or piece rates. We find that planters who are paid piece rates produce more, on average, than those who are paid fixed wages, but that the productivity of piece-rate planters falls with the number of consecutive days worked; the fall in productivity is between three and five percent. Fixed-wage planters, on the other hand, showed no such decreases.
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