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Social responsibility and incentives in the lab: Why do agents exert more effort when principals donate?

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  • Kajackaite, Agne
  • Sliwka, Dirk

Abstract

We test experimentally whether and why principals’ charitable giving affects agents’ efforts. We study a simple principal-agent setting in the lab, where a principal decides whether to donate a fixed amount to a charity and, in the next step, an agent chooses his effort. We argue there are three potential mechanisms that can trigger a higher effort after a donation in this setting: distributional concerns, reciprocal altruism, and shared warm glow utility. We find agents choose higher efforts when principals donate. With respect to the mechanisms, we find evidence for reciprocal altruism and distributional concerns as drivers of agents’ performance reactions in the lab.

Suggested Citation

  • Kajackaite, Agne & Sliwka, Dirk, 2017. "Social responsibility and incentives in the lab: Why do agents exert more effort when principals donate?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 482-493.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:482-493
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.08.013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lea Cassar & Stephan Meier, 2017. "Intentions for Doing Good Matter for Doing Well: The (Negative) Signaling Value of Prosocial Incentives," NBER Working Papers 24109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daniel Schwartz & Elizabeth A. Keenan & Alex Imas & Ayelet Gneezy, 2017. "Opting-in to Prosocial Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 6840, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Cassar, Lea & Meier, Stephan, 2017. "Intentions for Doing Good Matter for Doing Well: The (Negative) Signaling Value of Prosocial Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 11203, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate Social responsibility; Incentives; Reciprocity; Intentions; Equity; Experiment; Warm glow;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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