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Motivation crowding-out: Is there a risk for science?

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  • Julien Pénin

Abstract

Performance related pay is playing an increasing role in scientific research. This development, which applies the results of standard economic theories (the principal-agent model), aims at increasing incentives and thus productivity in science. The objective of this paper is then to cross the works of various economic fields, including those in economics of science and those on the theories of individual motivation, in order to explore the consequences of this development on scientists’ incentives and to focus on its possible "perverse effects". Two key elements emerge from our literature review: firstly, the motivations of researchers are complex and multiple and do not depend solely on their salary level; secondly, the literature on the theories of incentives identifies a risk that increasing monetary incentives, paradoxically, reduce the overall level of staff motivation, especially when there exist other sources of motivation (as is usually the case in science). According to this literature there may therefore exist a "hidden cost" to financially reward scientists. These teachings lead us to construct empirically testable propositions about the implications of performance related pay in science and the conditions of emergence of a motivation crowding-out effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2012-13.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2012-13

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Related research

Keywords: science; merit pay; university; "motivation crowding-out"; research; incentives.;

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References

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  1. Claudia Curi & Cinzia Daraio & Maria Patrick Llerena, 2012. "University Technology Transfer: How (in-)efficient are French universities?," DIS Technical Reports 2012-02, Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering, Universita' degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza".
  2. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao & Kevin McCabe & Vernon Smith, 2005. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non- cooperation," Experimental 0503001, EconWPA.
  3. Meixing Dai, 2012. "Static and Dynamic Effects of Central Bank Transparency," Working Papers of BETA 2012-08, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  4. Olivier Cardi & Romain Restout, 2012. "Unanticipated vs. Anticipated Tax Reforms in a Two-Sector Open Economy," Working Papers of BETA 2012-01, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  5. James M. Poterba & Kim S. Rueben, 1994. "The Distribution of Public Sector Wage Premia: New Evidence Using Quantile Regression Methods," NBER Working Papers 4734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Olivier Cardi & Romain Restout, 2012. "Fiscal shocks in a two sector open economy with endogenous markups," Working Papers of BETA 2012-17, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  2. Ragip Ege & Herrade Igersheim & Charlotte Le Chapelain, 2012. "Transcendental vs. Comparative Approaches to Justice : A Reappraisal of Sen’s Dichotomy," Working Papers of BETA 2012-15, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

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