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Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory

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Listed:
  • Tore Ellingsen
  • Magnus Johannesson

Abstract

Desire for social esteem is a source of prosocial behavior. We develop a model in which actors' utility of esteem depends on the audience. In a principal agent setting, we show that the model can account for motivational crowding out. Control systems and pecuniary incentives erode morale by signaling to the agent that the principal is not worth impressing. The model also offers an explanation for why agents are motivated by unconditionally high pay and by mission-oriented principals.

Suggested Citation

  • Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:990-1008
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.990
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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