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No margin, no mission? A field experiment on incentives for public service delivery

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  • Ashraf, Nava
  • Bandiera, Oriana
  • Jack, B. Kelsey

Abstract

We conduct a field experiment to evaluate the effect of extrinsic rewards, both financial and non-financial, on the performance of agents recruited by a public health organization to promote HIV prevention and sell condoms. In this setting: (i) non-financial rewards are effective at improving performance; (ii) the effect of both types of rewards is stronger for pro-socially motivated agents; and (iii) both types of rewards are effective when their relative value is high. The findings illustrate that extrinsic rewards can improve the performance of agents engaged in public service delivery, and that non-financial rewards can be effective in settings where the power of financial incentives is limited.

Suggested Citation

  • Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Jack, B. Kelsey, 2014. "No margin, no mission? A field experiment on incentives for public service delivery," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:120:y:2014:i:c:p:1-17
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2014.06.014
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial incentives; Non-monetary rewards; Pro-social motivation; Public service delivery;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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