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Rank as an Incentive

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  • Zeckhauser, Richard Jay
  • Tran, Anh

Abstract

Money is the prime incentive in economic models. Recent evidence makes it clear that people are also greatly concerned about how their incomes compare with those of others, suggesting that rank may be a strong motivator as well. Three experiments in Vietnam assessed whether students in real-world learning environments were concerned with their performance rankings. The results showed that concern with rank, even when rankings were not publicly revealed, strongly motivated performance on academic tests. Moreover, rank was able to outweigh money as a motivator.

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Paper provided by Harvard Kennedy School of Government in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4415904.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Publication status: Published in HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4415904

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  1. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
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  3. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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  5. Ireland, N. J., 2001. "Optimal income tax in the presence of status effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 193-212, August.
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  7. Ireland, Norman J., 1994. "On limiting the market for status signals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 91-110, January.
  8. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  9. Congleton, Roger D., 1989. "Efficient status seeking: Externalities, and the evolution of status games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 175-190, March.
  10. Richard A. Easterlin, 2000. "The Worldwide Standard of Living since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 7-26, Winter.
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