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Can Higher Bonuses Lead to Less E ort? Incentive Reversal in Teams

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  • Esteban F. Klor
  • Sebastian Kube
  • Eyal Winter
  • Ro'i Zultan

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that an increase in monetary incentives should induce agents to exert higher effort. In this paper, however, we demonstrate that this may not hold in team settings. In the context of sequential team production with positive externalities between agents, incentive reversal might occur: an increase in monetary incentives (either because rewards increase or effort costs decrease) may lead agents to exert lower effort in the completion of a joint task – even if agents are fully rational, self-centered money maximizers. Herein we discuss this seemingly paradoxical phenomenon and report on two experiments that provide supportive evidence.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000073.

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Date of creation: 25 Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000073

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References

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  1. Guttman, Joel M., 1986. "Matching behavior and collective action : Some experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 171-198, June.
  2. Eyal Winter, 2009. "Incentive Reversal," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 133-47, August.
  3. Harrison, Glenn W & McCabe, Kevin A, 1996. "Expectations and Fairness in a Simple Bargaining Experiment," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 303-27.
  4. Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Peers at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2292, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ernst Fehr & John List, 2004. "The hidden costs and returns of incentives - trust and trustworthiness among ceos," Artefactual Field Experiments 00044, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Camerer, Colin, et al, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-41, May.
  7. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Vincent P Crawford & Juanjuan Meng, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers’ Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependent Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002281, David K. Levine.
  9. Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May.
  10. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
  12. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment And Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials In A Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090, August.
  13. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2006. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 39-58, January.
  14. Sebastian Goerg & Sebastian Kube & Ro'i Zultan, 2007. "Treating Equals Unequally - Incentives in Teams, Workers' Motivation and Production Technology," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse17_2007, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Jan 2008.
  15. John Bone & John D Hey & John Suckling, 2006. "Do People Plan?," Discussion Papers 06/22, Department of Economics, University of York, revised Jul 2007.
  16. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  17. Binmore, Ken & McCarthy, John & Ponti, Giovanni & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 2002. "A Backward Induction Experiment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 48-88, May.
  18. Clark, Kenneth & Sefton, Martin, 2001. "The Sequential Prisoner's Dilemma: Evidence on Reciprocation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 51-68, January.
  19. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2004. "Fairness and Incentives in a Multi-Task Principle-Agent Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 4464, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Eyal Winter, 2010. "Transparency and incentives among peers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 504-523.
  21. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  22. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and Labor Supply: The Case of New York City Taxi Drivers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1069-82, June.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Incentives doublethink
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-02-28 14:49:53
  2. How bonuses backfire
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-03-01 14:20:38
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Cited by:
  1. Sebastian Goerg & Sebastian Kube & Ro'i Zultan, 2007. "Treating Equals Unequally - Incentives in Teams, Workers' Motivation and Production Technology," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse17_2007, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Jan 2008.
  2. Eva-Maria Steiger & Ro'i Zultan, 2011. "See No Evil: Information Chains and Reciprocity in Teams," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-040, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Bel, Roland & Smirnov, Vladimir & Wait, Andrew, 2012. "On Broadway and strip malls: how to make a winning team," Working Papers 2012-14, University of Sydney, School of Economics.

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