Incentives and Prosocial Behaviour
AbstractWe build a theory of prosocial behaviour that combines heterogeneity in individual altruism and greed with concerns for social reputation or self-respect. The presence of rewards or punishments creates doubt as to the true motive for which good deeds are performed, and this ‘overjustification effect’ can result in a net crowding out of prosocial behaviour by extrinsic incentives. The model also allows us to identify settings that are conducive to multiple social norms of behaviour, and those where disclosing one’s generosity may backfire. Finally, we analyse the equilibrium contracts offered by sponsors, including the level and confidentiality or publicity of incentives. Sponsor competition may cause rewards to bid down rather than up, and can even reduce social welfare by requiring agents to engage in inefficient sacrifices.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4633.
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IDEI Working Papers 389, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jan 2006.
- Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," NBER Working Papers 11535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-02-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2005-02-13 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-PBE-2005-02-13 (Public Economics)
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