Paying leaders of for-profit organizations is difficult. And this is even the case when there is some agreement regarding the objectives of the organizations (e.g., returns to shareholders in publicly held companies). But as they step away from the most obvious objective of maximizing shareholder return or profit, things can get more complicated. Three authors shed considerable light on this by using a rich data set of more than 2,000 Methodist ministers over 43 years. To be sure, the data are from one specific religious group in one region of the US, but the data are absolutely extraordinary. In "Is a Higher Calling Enough? Incentive Compensation in the Church," Journal of Labor Economics, 28(3), 2010, 509-539, authors Jay C. Hartzell, Christopher A. Parsons and David L. Yermack consider pay and productivity with this unique dataset. The authors are fundamentally interested in whether there is pay for performance for ministers in the data.

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