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Hidden Costs of Control: Three Repetitions and an Extension

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  • Matteo Ploner

    ()
    (University of Trento, Department of Economics, Computable and Experimental Economics Laboratory)

  • Katrin Schmelz

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)

  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)

Abstract

We report three repetitions of Falk and Kosfeld's (2006) low and medium control treatments with 364 subjects. Each repetition employs a sample drawn from a standard subject pool of students and demographics vary across samples. Our results largely conflict with those of the original study. We mainly observe hidden costs of control of low magnitude that lead to low-trust principal-agent relationships. Our subjects were asked, at the end of the experimental session, to complete a questionnaire in which they had to state their work motivation in hypothetical scenarios. Our questionnaires are identical to the ones administered in Falk and Kosfeld's (2006) questionnaire study. In contrast to the game play data, our questionnaire data are similar to those of the original questionnaire study. In an attempt to solve this puzzle, we report an extension with 228 subjects where performance-contingent earnings are absent i.e. both principals and agents are paid according to a flat participation fee. We observe that hidden costs outweigh benefits of control which shows that control aversion is more prevalent under hypothetical than under real incentives. Still, in the low control treatment, we observe much weaker negative responses to control in our extension than in the original study. This observation, the fact that the original study uses real incentives, and preliminary findings on the relationship between demographics and the degree of control aversion lead us to conclude that Falk and Kosfeld's (2006) experimental regularities originate from the characteristics of their subjects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2010-007.

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Date of creation: 18 Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2010-007

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Keywords: Control; Demographics; Experimental Economics; Incentives; Intrinsic Motivation;

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References

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  1. Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Performance Pay and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wendelin Schnedler & Radovan Vadovic, 2011. "Legitimacy of Control," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 985-1009, December.
  3. Dickinson, David & Villeval, Marie-Claire, 2008. "Does monitoring decrease work effort?: The complementarity between agency and crowding-out theories," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 56-76, May.
  4. Daniel Nagin & James Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2006. "Incentives for Managers and Inequality Among Workers: Evidence from a Firm Level Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2062, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Gary E. Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2006. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1906-1911, December.
  8. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, . "The Hidden Costs of Control," IEW - Working Papers 250, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Faravelli, Marco, 2007. "How context matters: A survey based experiment on distributive justice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1399-1422, August.
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  11. Fehr, Ernst & Naef, Michael & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2006. "Inequality aversion, efficiency, and maximin preferences in simple distribution experiments: Comment," Munich Reprints in Economics 20639, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Katharina Eckartz & Oliver Kirchkamp & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "How do Incentives affect Creativity?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-068, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Riener, Gerhard & Wiederhold, Simon, 2012. "Heterogeneous treatment effects in groups," DICE Discussion Papers 73, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  3. Masella, Paolo & Meier, Stephan & Zahn, Philipp, 2014. "Incentives and group identity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 12-25.
  4. Simon Wiederhold, 2012. "The Role of Public Procurement in Innovation: Theory and Empirical Evidence," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 43.
  5. Schnedler, Wendelin & Vanberg, Christoph, 2014. "Playing 'Hard to Get': An Economic Rationale for Crowding Out of Intrinsically Motivated Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 8108, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Gerhard Riener & Simon Wiederhold, 2011. "On Social Identity, Subjective Expectations, and the Costs of Control," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-035, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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