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Incentives for prosocial activities

Author

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  • Nicola Lacetera

    (University of Toronto, Canada)

Abstract

Early studies often found that offering economic incentives for undertaking prosocial and intrinsically motivated activities can crowd out motivation to perform these activities. More recent work highlights nuanced and important features related to whether crowding out (or substitution) is likely to occur. In many cases, incentives succeed in encouraging more prosocial behavior and are also cost-effective. However, although the substitution of external incentives for intrinsic motivation may not be a concern in many contexts, the substitution of one prosocial activity for another or shifts in activities over time or location may warrant further attention.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Lacetera, 2016. "Incentives for prosocial activities," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 238-238, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izawol:journl:y:2016:n:238
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Robert Slonim, 2012. "Will There Be Blood? Incentives and Displacement Effects in Pro-social Behavior," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 186-223, February.
    2. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna & Stephen P. Ryan, 2012. "Incentives Work: Getting Teachers to Come to School," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1241-1278, June.
    3. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Martín A. Rossi, 2013. "Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1169-1218.
    4. Rommel, Jens & Buttmann, Vera & Liebig, Georg & Schönwetter, Stephanie & Svart-Gröger, Valeria, 2015. "Motivation crowding theory and pro-environmental behavior: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 42-44.
    5. 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.
    6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    7. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1996. "The Old Lady Visits Your Backyard: A Tale of Morals and Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1297-1313, December.
    8. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Lacetera, 2016. "Incentives and Ethics in the Economics of Body Parts," NBER Working Papers 22673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    prosocial behavior; incentives; intrinsic and extrinsic motivation; over-justification effects; substitution effects; research methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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