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Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment

  • Daniel S. Nagin
  • James B. Rebitzer
  • Seth Sanders
  • Lowell J. Taylor

Economic models of incentives in employment relationships are based on a specific theory of motivation: employees are "rational cheaters," who anticipate the consequences of their actions and shirk when the marginal benefits exceed costs. We investigate the "rational cheater model" by observing how experimentally induced variation in monitoring of telephone call center employees influences opportunism. A significant fraction of employees behave as the "rational cheater model" predicts. A substantial proportion of employees, however, do not respond to manipulations in the monitoring rate. This heterogeneity is related to variation in employee assessments of their general treatment by the employer. (JEL D2, J2, L2, L8, M12)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 92 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 850-873

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:4:p:850-873
Note: DOI: 10.1257/00028280260344498
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