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Disentangling the Sources of Pro-social Behavior in the Workplace: A Field Experiment

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  • Mirco Tonin
  • Michael Vlassopoulos

Abstract

This paper presents evidence from a field experiment, which aims to identify the two sources of workers’ pro-social motivation that have been considered in the literature: action-oriented altruism and output-oriented altruism. To this end we employ an experimental design that first measures the level of effort exerted by student workers on a data entry task in an environment that elicits purely selfish behavior and we compare it to effort exerted in an environment that also induces action-oriented altruism. We then compare the latter to effort exerted in an environment where both types of altruistic preferences are elicited. We find that action-oriented altruism accounts for a significant increase in effort, while there is no additional impact due to output-oriented altruism. We also find significant gender-related differences in the treatment effect: women are very responsive to the treatment condition eliciting action-oriented altruism, while men’s behavior is not affected by any of the treatments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2757.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2757

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Keywords: pro-social behavior; field experiment; effort; charitable donations;

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  1. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2004. "Incentives and Workers' Motivation in the Public Sector," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-060/1, Tinbergen Institute.
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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Yu-Fu & Funke, Michael, 2009. "Booms, Recessions and Financial Turmoil: A Fresh Look at Investment Decisions under Cyclical Uncertainty," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-31, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  2. Hannes Koppel & Tobias Regner, 2011. "Corporate Social Responsibility in the work place - Experimental evidence on CSR from a gift-exchange game," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-030, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Friedhelm Pfeiffer & Nico Schulz, 2012. "Gregariousness, interactive jobs and wages," Journal of Labour Market Research, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 147-159, July.

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