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Competitive Incentives: Working Harder or Working Smarter?

Author

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  • Anat Bracha

    (Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts 02210)

  • Chaim Fershtman

    (The Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 69978; Centre for Economic Policy Research, London EC1V 3PZ, United Kingdom; and Tinbergen Institute, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Abstract

Almost all jobs require a combination of cognitive effort and labor effort. This paper focuses on the effect that competitive incentive schemes have on the chosen combination of these two types of efforts. We use an experimental approach to show that competitive incentives may induce agents to work harder but not necessarily smarter. This effect was stronger for women. This paper was accepted by John List, behavioral economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Anat Bracha & Chaim Fershtman, 2013. "Competitive Incentives: Working Harder or Working Smarter?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(4), pages 771-781, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:59:y:2013:i:4:p:771-781
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1120.1597
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    7. Jared Rubin & Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2016. "Incentivizing Quantity and Quality of Output: An Experimental Investigation of The Quantity-Quality Trade-Off," Artefactual Field Experiments 00438, The Field Experiments Website.
    8. Bruno S. Frey & Jana Gallus, 2014. "Awards are a Special Kind of Signal," CREMA Working Paper Series 2014-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    9. Ou, Kai & Pan, Xiaofei, 2021. "The effect of task choice and task assignment on the gender earnings gap: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    10. Schreck, Philipp, 2015. "Honesty in managerial reporting: How competition affects the benefits and costs of lying," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 177-188.
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    17. Minkyung Kim & K. Sudhir & Kosuke Uetake, 2019. "A Structural Model of a Multitasking Salesforce: Multidimensional Incentives and Plan Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2199, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    18. Muriel Niederle, 2014. "Gender," NBER Working Papers 20788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Minkyung Kim & K. Sudhir & Kosuke Uetake, 2019. "A Structural Model of a Multitasking Salesforce: Multidimensional Incentives and Plan Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2199R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Apr 2021.
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