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

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

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel S. Nagin & James B. Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 850-873, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:4:p:850-873
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/00028280260344498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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