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Rank as an inherent incentive: Evidence from a field experiment

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  • Tran, Anh
  • Zeckhauser, Richard

Abstract

Money is the prime incentive considered in economic models. However, recent evidence indicates that people are also greatly concerned about their social rankings. Is this solely because rank brings tangible benefits, or because in addition people have an inherent preference for high rank? This paper deployed a field experiment that provides evidence for an inherent preference. In the experiment, Vietnamese students enrolled in an English course performed significantly better on the official standardized international final test when they were told their rankings on practice tests than when they were not. This result held even when this ranking information could not be reliably communicated, thus severely attenuating the potential to bring tangible or status benefits.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272712000436
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
Issue (Month): 9-10 ()
Pages: 645-650

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:9:p:645-650

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Rank; Ranking; Status-seeking; Inherent rank incentive; Field experiment;

References

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Cited by:
  1. Steven Levitt & John List & Susanne Neckermann & Sally Sadoff, 2013. "The behavioralist goes to school: Leveraging behavioral economics to improve educational performance," Framed Field Experiments 00379, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2013. "Rankings, Random Successes, and Individual Performance," Economics Working Paper Series 1340, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  3. Charness, Gary & Masclet, David & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2013. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3858888w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Lee, Scott S., 2014. "Awards unbundled: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 44-63.

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