Rewards in general do not enhance, and often impede, performance on many different kinds of tasks, especially those that require creativity.
Consider the countries typically cited as competitors of the United States. Japan and Germany, to take two of the most successful, rarely use incentives or other behaviorist tactics to induce people to do a better job.
Perhaps what they are telling us is that better performance does not follow from higher pay. In other words, the very idea of trying to reward quality may be a fool’s errand.
One interesting bit of research took advantage of an unusual occurrence in a real workplace: the sudden elimination of an incentive system that had long been in effect for a group of welders.