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Can Higher Rewards Lead To Less Effort? Incentive Reversal In Teams

Author

Listed:
  • Esteban Klor

    (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • Sebastian Kube
  • Eyal Winter

    (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • Ro'i Zultan

    () (Ben-Gurion University)

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that a global increase in monetary rewards should induce agents to exert higher effort. In this paper we demonstrate that this may not hold in team settings. In the context of sequential team production with positive externalities between agents, incentive reversal might occur: an increase in monetary rewards (either because bonuses increase or effort costs decrease) may lead agents to exert lower effort in the completion of a joint task — even if agents are fully rational, self-centered money maximizers. Herein we discuss this seemingly paradoxical phenomenon and report on two experiments that provide supportive evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Esteban Klor & Sebastian Kube & Eyal Winter & Ro'i Zultan, 2013. "Can Higher Rewards Lead To Less Effort? Incentive Reversal In Teams," Working Papers 1309, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bgu:wpaper:1309
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Incentives doublethink
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-02-28 20:49:53
    2. How bonuses backfire
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-03-01 20:20:38
    3. Ronnie O'Sullivan & the limits of incentives
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-02-16 19:36:36

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ester Manna, 2015. "Intrinsically Motivated Agents in Teams," UB Economics Working Papers 2015/326, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB School of Economics.
    2. Roi Zultan & Eva-Maria Steiger, 2011. "See No Evil: Information Chains and Reciprocity in Teams," Working Papers 1108, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    3. Smirnov, Vladimir & Wait, Andrew, 2016. "Technology, team production and incentives," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 91-94.
    4. Sebastian J. Goerg & Sebastian Kube & Ro'i Zultan, 2010. "Treating Equals Unequally: Incentives in Teams, Workers' Motivation, and Production Technology," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 747-772, October.
    5. Jan Babecký & Clémence Berson & Ludmila Fadejeva & Ana Lamo & Petra Marotzke & Fernando Martins & Pawel Strzelecki, 2019. "Non-base wage components as a source of wage adaptability to shocks: evidence from European firms, 2010–2013," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 8(1), pages 1-18, December.
    6. Jan Babecký, Clémence Berson, Ludmila Fadejeva, Ana Lamo, Petra Marotzke, Fernando Martins, Pawel Strzelecki, 2018. "Non-base wage components as a source of wage adaptability to shocks: Evidence from European firms, 2010–2013," Working papers 681, Banque de France.
    7. Bel, Roland & Smirnov, Vladimir & Wait, Andrew, 2012. "On Broadway and strip malls: how to make a winning team," Working Papers 2012-14, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    8. Emma von Essen & Marieke Huysentruyt & Topi Miettinen, 2020. "Exploration in Teams and the Encouragement Effect: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(12), pages 5861-5885, December.
    9. Emma von Essen & Marieke Huysentruyt & Topi Miettinen, 2019. "Exploration in Teams and the Encouragement Effect: Theory and Evidence," Economics Working Papers 2019-10, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    10. Steiger, Eva-Maria & Zultan, Ro'i, 2014. "See no evil: Information chains and reciprocity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 1-12.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incentives; Incentive Reversal; Team Production; Externalities; Laboratory Experiments; Personnel Economics.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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