The hidden costs and returns of incentives - trust and trustworthiness among ceos
AbstractWe examine experimentally how Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) respond to incentives and how they provide incentives in situations requiring trust and trustworthiness. As a control we compare the behavior of CEOs with the behavior of students. We find that CEOs are considerably more trusting and exhibit more trustworthiness than students—thus reaching substantially higher efficiency levels than students. Moreover, we find that, for CEOs as well as for students, incentives based on explicit threats to penalize shirking backfire by inducing less trustworthy behavior—giving rise to hidden costs of incentives. However, the availability of penalizing incentives also creates hidden returns: if a principal expresses trust by voluntarily refraining from implementing the punishment threat, the agent exhibits significantly more trustworthiness than if the punishment threat is not available. Thus trust seems to reinforce trustworthy behavior. Overall, trustworthiness is highest if the threat to punish is available but not used, while it is lowest if the threat to punish is used. Paradoxically, however, most CEOs and students use the punishment threat, although CEOs use it significantly less.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Artefactual Field Experiments with number 00044.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com
Other versions of this item:
- Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, 09.
- Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "THE HIDDEN COSTS AND RETURNS OF INCENTIVES — TRUST AND TRUSTWORTHINESS AMONG CEOs," Labor and Demography 0409012, EconWPA.
- E. Fehr & John A. List, . "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives - Trust and Trustworthiness among CEOs," IEW - Working Papers 134, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
- J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gneezy, U. & Rustichini, A., 1998.
"Pay Enough - Or Don't Pay at All,"
1998-57, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1988. "Experimental Tests of a Sequential Equilibrium Reputation Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 1-36, January.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998.
"A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
- M. Rabin, 2001.
"Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
511, David K. Levine.
- Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
- Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
- Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
- R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
- Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
- Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, .
"A Theory of Reciprocity,"
IEW - Working Papers
006, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993.
"Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
- Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
- Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-64, May.
- Pierre André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2002.
"Testing Contract Theory: A Survey of Some Recent Work,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
738, CESifo Group Munich.
- Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2002. "Testing Contract Theory : A Survey of Some Recent Work," Working Papers 2002-11, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
- Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998.
"A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity,"
1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
- Bewley, Truman F, 1995. "A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 250-54, May.
- Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2005.
"Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 523-534, 02.
- Haigh, Michael S. & List, John A., 2002. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 28554, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
- Michael Haigh & John List, 2005. "Do professional traders exhibit myopic loss aversion? An experimental analysis," Artefactual Field Experiments 00052, The Field Experiments Website.
- Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
- Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000.
"A fine is a price,"
Natural Field Experiments
00258, The Field Experiments Website.
- Iris Bohnet & Bruno S. Frey & Steffen Huck, . "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," IEW - Working Papers 052, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
- Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898, August.
- Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joe Seidel).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.