IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v99y2009i1p544-55.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially

Author

Listed:
  • Dan Ariely
  • Anat Bracha
  • Stephan Meier

Abstract

This paper experimentally examines image motivation--the desire to be liked and well regarded by others--as a driver in prosocial behavior (doing good), and asks whether extrinsic monetary incentives (doing well) have a detrimental effect on prosocial behavior due to crowding out of image motivation. Using the unique property of image motivation--its dependency on visibility--we show that image is indeed an important part of the motivation to behave prosocially, and that extrinsic incentives crowd out image motivation. Therefore, monetary incentives are more likely to be counterproductive for public prosocial activities than for private ones. (JEL D64, L31, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:544-55
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.544
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.99.1.544
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/mar09/20070958_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/mar09/20070958_app.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Generosity," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 664, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
    3. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
    4. Adriaan Soetevent, 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context-a field experiment in thirty churches," Framed Field Experiments 00198, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-1028, September.
    6. Carl Mellström & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 845-863, June.
    7. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810.
    8. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
    9. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    10. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-755, September.
    11. Seabright, Paul, 2004. "Continuous Preferences Can Cause Discontinuous Choices: An Application to the Impact of Incentives on Altruism," CEPR Discussion Papers 4322, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Stephan Meier, 2006. "A survey of economic theories and field evidence on pro-social behavior," Working Papers 06-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    13. Bruno S. Frey & Lorenz Goette, "undated". "Does Pay Motivate Volunteers?," IEW - Working Papers 007, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    14. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
    15. Blumkin, Tomer & Sadka, Efraim, 2007. "A case for taxing charitable donations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1555-1564, August.
    16. Bruno S. Frey & Reto Jegen, 2000. "Motivation Crowding Theory: A Survey of Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 245, CESifo.
    17. Harbaugh, William T, 1998. "The Prestige Motive for Making Charitable Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 277-282, May.
    18. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2001. "Theories of Fairness and Reciprocity," Discussion Papers in Economics 14, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    19. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    20. Dana, Jason & Cain, Daylian M. & Dawes, Robyn M., 2006. "What you don't know won't hurt me: Costly (but quiet) exit in dictator games," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 193-201, July.
    21. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2003. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context : an economic field experiment in thirty churches," CCSO Working Papers 200308, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
    22. Janssen, Maarten C. W. & Mendys-Kamphorst, Ewa, 2004. "The price of a price: on the crowding out and in of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 377-395, November.
    23. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
    24. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
    25. Hollander, Heinz, 1990. "A Social Exchange Approach to Voluntary Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1157-1167, December.
    26. Bruno S. Frey & Reto Jegen, 2001. "Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    27. Bruno S. Frey, 1997. "Not Just for the Money," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1183, June.
    28. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Joan Costa-Font & Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Steven T. Yen, 2013. "Not All Incentives Wash Out the Warm Glow: The Case of Blood Donation Revisited," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 529-551, November.
    2. Linardi, Sera & McConnell, Margaret A., 2011. "No excuses for good behavior: Volunteering and the social environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 445-454.
    3. Martinsson, Peter & Villegas-Palacio, Clara, 2010. "Does disclosure crowd out cooperation?," Working Papers in Economics 446, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    4. Goette, Lorenz & Stutzer, Alois, 2020. "Blood donations and incentives: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 52-74.
    5. Wang, Xia & Tong, Luqiong, 2015. "Hide the light or let it shine? Examining the factors influencing the effect of publicizing donations on donors’ happiness," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 418-424.
    6. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: A Preference-based Lucas Critique of Public Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 2734, CESifo.
    7. Rode, Julian & Gómez-Baggethun, Erik & Krause, Torsten, 2015. "Motivation crowding by economic incentives in conservation policy: A review of the empirical evidence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 270-282.
    8. Dickinson, David & Villeval, Marie-Claire, 2008. "Does monitoring decrease work effort?: The complementarity between agency and crowding-out theories," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 56-76, May.
    9. Andrei Bremzen & Elena Khokhlova & Anton Suvorov & Jeroen van de Ven, 2015. "Bad News: An Experimental Study on the Informational Effects Of Rewards," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 55-70, March.
    10. Anya Savikhin & Roman Sheremeta, 2010. "Visibility of Contributions and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," Working Papers 10-22, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    11. Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological foundations of incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
    12. Bolton, Gary & Dimant, Eugen & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2021. "Observability and social image: On the robustness and fragility of reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 191(C), pages 946-964.
    13. Andreas Fuster & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Another Hidden Cost of Incentives: The Detrimental Effect on Norm Enforcement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(1), pages 57-70, January.
    14. Emel Filiz-Ozbay & Erkut Ozbay, 2014. "Effect of an audience in public goods provision," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 200-214, June.
    15. Anya Savikhin Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2014. "Recognizing contributors: an experiment on public goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 673-690, December.
    16. Xiaofei Pan & Daniel Houser, 2017. "Social approval, competition and cooperation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 309-332, June.
    17. 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.
    18. Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2013. "Recognizing Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," Artefactual Field Experiments 00430, The Field Experiments Website.
    19. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    20. Bengtsson, Niklas & Engström, Per, 2011. "Control and Efficiency in the Nonprofit Sector Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment," Working Paper Series 2011:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially (AER 2009) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:544-55. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.