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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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  1. Goerg, Sebastian & Kube, Sebastian & Zultan, Ro'i, 2009. "Treating Equals Unequally: Incentives in Teams, Workers' Motivation and Production Technology," IZA Discussion Papers 3959, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Peers at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 112-45, March.
  3. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
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  5. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2004. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000439, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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  21. Eyal Winter, 2010. "Transparency and incentives among peers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(3), pages 504-523.
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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 J. Goerg & Sebastian Kube & Ro'i Zultan, 2010. "Treating Equals Unequally: Incentives in Teams, Workers' Motivation, and Production Technology," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 747-772, October.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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