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The incentive effects of missions—Evidence from experiments with NGO employees and students

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  • Gerhards, Leonie

Abstract

This paper studies the incentive effects of an organization׳s ‘mission’ on the effort provision of agents. Across treatments, I exogenously vary how much the agents׳ and their projects׳ missions match. In the first study, NGO employees are assigned the role of agents in an online, one-shot, principal-agent experiment. In the second study, I replicate the experimental design with a student subject pool. In both experiments the agents׳ effort choices are, for any given piece rate, increasing in their mission match. In a third study, a laboratory experiment with a finitely repeated principal-agent game with random matching, I do not find a motivational effect of missions, unlike in my first two studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerhards, Leonie, 2015. "The incentive effects of missions—Evidence from experiments with NGO employees and students," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 252-262.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:79:y:2015:i:c:p:252-262
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2015.07.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fehrler, Sebastian & Kosfeld, Michael, 2014. "Pro-social missions and worker motivation: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 99-110.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dur, Robert & van Lent, Max, 2018. "Serving the public interest in several ways: Theory and empirics," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 13-24.
    2. Non, Arjan & Rohde, Ingrid & de Grip, Andries & Dohmen, Thomas, 2019. "Mission of the company, prosocial attitudes and job preferences: a discrete choice experiment," Research Memorandum 020, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    3. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2015. "Signaling cooperation," SAFE Working Paper Series 120, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    4. repec:eme:rexezz:s0193-230620160000019004 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jeworrek, Sabrina & Mertins, Vanessa, 2019. "Mission, motivation, and the active decision to work for a social cause," IWH Discussion Papers 10/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    6. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2015. "Signaling Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 10942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. repec:eee:eecrev:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:199-216 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Sánchez, Ángela, 2016. "The effect of charitable giving on workers’ performance: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 61-74.
    9. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2016. "Signaling Cooperation," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145648, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Banuri, Sheheryar & Keefer, Philip, 2016. "Pro-social motivation, effort and the call to public service," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 139-164.
    11. Sheheryar Banuri & Philip Keefer, 2016. "Mellowing with Tenure? Socialization Increases Prosocial Behavior in Public Organizations," Research in Experimental Economics,in: Experiments in Organizational Economics, volume 19, pages 127-140 Emerald Publishing Ltd.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mission motivation; Incentives; Online experiment; Laboratory experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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