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A Change Would Do You Good .... An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations

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  • Jordi Brandts
  • David J. Cooper

Abstract

We study how financial incentives can be used to overcome a history of coordination failure using controlled laboratory experiments. Subjects' payoffs depend on coordinating at high effort levels. In an initial phase, the benefits of coordination are low, and play typically converges to an inefficient outcome. We then explore varying financial incentives to coordinate at a higher effort level. An increase in the benefits of coordination leads to improved coordination, but large increases have no more impact than small increases. Once subjects have coordinated on a higher effort level, reductions in the incentives to coordinate have little effect on behavior. (JEL C92, D23, J31, L23, M52)

Suggested Citation

  • Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2006. "A Change Would Do You Good .... An Experimental Study on How to Overcome Coordination Failure in Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 669-693, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:3:p:669-693
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.3.669
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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