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Work for Image and Work for Pay

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  • Dessi, Roberta
  • Rustichini, Aldo

Abstract

Standard economic models with complete information predict a positive, monotonic relationship between pay and performance. This prediction does not always hold in experimental tests: offering a small payment may result in lower performance than not offering any payment. We test experimentally two main explanations that have been put forward for this result: the "incomplete contract" hypothesis views the payment rule as a signal given to subjects on purpose of the activity. The "informed principal" hypothesis views it as a signal concerning the characteristics of the agent or of the task. The incomplete contract view appears to offer the best overall explanation for our results. We also find that high-powered monetary incentives do not "crowd out" intrinsic motivation, but may elicit "too much" effort when intrinsic motivation is very high.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 11-252.

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Date of creation: 10 Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:24943

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  1. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria, 2012. "Cognitive ability and learning to play equilibrium: A level-k analysis," MPRA Paper 38317, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Apr 2012.

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