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Incentives, Decision Frames, and Motivation Crowding Out – An Experimental Investigation

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Author Info

  • Irlenbusch, Bernd

    ()
    (University of Cologne)

  • Sliwka, Dirk

    ()
    (University of Cologne)

Abstract

A simple principal agent problem is experimentally investigated in which a principal repeatedly sets a wage and an agent responds by choosing an effort level. The principal's payoff is determined by the agent's effort. In a first setting the principal can only set a fixed wage in each period. In a second setting the principal has the possibility to supplement the fixed wage with a piece rate. Surprisingly, efforts are lower in the case where piece rates can be paid. Furthermore, switching in the same treatment from a setting where piece rates are available to one where only fixed wages can be paid tends to lead to even lower effort levels. Based on our findings we suggest a new explanation for motivation crowding out by arguing that the use of piece rates considerably alters the principals' and agents' perception of the situation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1758.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1758

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Keywords: incentives; crowding-out; reciprocity; reputation; experiment;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sliwka, Dirk, 2003. "On the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 844, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2008. "How many winners are good to have?: On tournaments with sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 682-702, March.
  3. Danilov, Anastasia & Sliwka, Dirk, 2013. "Can Contracts Signal Social Norms? Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7477, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Michel André Maréchal & Christian Thöni, 2007. "Do Managers Reciprocate? Field Experimental Evidence From a Competitive Market," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-09, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  5. Kocher, Martin G. & Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Testing a Forgotten Aspect of Akerlof's Gift Exchange Hypothesis: Relational Contracts with Individual and Uniform Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 6415, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
  7. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2734, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Bruno S. Frey & Margit Osterloh, 2004. "Yes, Managers Should Be Paid Like Bureaucrats," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  9. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  10. Kocher, Martin G. & Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Testing a forgotten aspect of Akerlof’s gift exchange hypothesis: Relational contracts with individual and uniform wages," Discussion Papers in Economics 12816, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Ruchala, Gabriele K., 2006. "Relative Rewards within Team-Based Compensation," IZA Discussion Papers 2423, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Ruchala, Gabriele K., 2008. "Relative rewards within team-based compensation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 141-167, April.
  13. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A preference-Based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2009-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.

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