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Individual Creativity, Ex-ante Goals and Financial Incentives

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  • Charness, Gary
  • Grieco, Daniela

Abstract

Creativity is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon that has hardly been considered byeconomists, despite a great deal of economic importance. This paper presents a series ofexperiments where subjects face creativity tasks where, in one case, ex-ante goals and constraintsare imposed on their answers, and in the other case no restrictions apply. The effects of financialincentives in stimulating creativity in both types of tasks is then tested, together with the impactof personal features like risk and ambiguity aversion. Our findings show that, in general,financial incentives affect “in-box†(constrained) creativity, but do not facilitate “blue skyâ€(unconstrained) creativity. However, in the latter case incentives do play a role for ambiguityaverseagents, who tend to be significantly less creative and seem to need extrinsic motivation toexert effort in a task whose odds of success they don’t know. We do find that measures ofcreative style, sensation-seeking preferences, and past involvement in artistic endeavors arerelated to our creativity score, but do not find any difference across gender for either form ofcreativity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt4mr6p1d5.

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Date of creation: 14 Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt4mr6p1d5

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Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences; creativity; incentives; ambiguity; constraints; ex-ante goals;

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References

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  1. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2005. "Large stakes and big mistakes," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 05-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Gary Charness, University of California, Santa Barbara and Garance Genicot,Georgetown University, 2004. "An Experimental Test of Risk-Sharing Arrangements," Working Papers, Georgetown University, Department of Economics gueconwpa~04-04-02, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  3. David W. Galenson, 2004. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Very Young or Very Old Innovator: Creativity at the Extremes of the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 10515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gneezy, U. & Rustichini, A., 1998. "Pay Enough - Or Don't Pay at All," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 1998-57, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Gneezy, Uri & Potters, Jan, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-45, May.
  6. Gary Charness & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Incentives to Exercise," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 909-931, 05.
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Cited by:
  1. Gibbs, Michael & Neckermann, Susanne & Siemroth, Christoph, 2014. "A Field Experiment in Motivating Employee Ideas," IZA Discussion Papers 8096, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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