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The Lemons Problem in a Labor Market with Intrinsic Motivation. When Higher Salaries Pay Worse Workers

  • F. Barigozzi
  • N. Burani
  • D. Raggi

We study the Lemons Problem when workers have private information on both their skills and their intrinsic motivation. When workers are motivated, ine¢ ciencies due to adverse selection are mitigated and a change in salaries may have unexpected consequences. With a su¢ ciently strong and positive association between motivation and productivity, a wage increase may attract less motivated and also less productive workers. When the association is positive but small, it instead may attract more productive and also more motivated workers. Our theoretical analysis reconciles contrasting empirical evidence on vocational sectors such as for public servants, teachers, health professionals and politicians. Our results also inform the current policy debate on whether it is possible to improve the overall quality of workers by changing their salary.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp883.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp883
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  1. Becchetti, Leonardo & Castriota, Stefano & Tortia, Ermanno, 2009. "Productivity, wages and intrinsic motivation in social enterprises," AICCON Working Papers 66-2009, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
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  8. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," NBER Working Papers 5435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. F. Barigozzi & N. Burani, 2013. "Bidimensional screening with intrinsically motivated workers," Working Papers wp866, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  14. Anthony Heyes, 2003. "The Economics of Vocation or Why is a Badly Paid Nurse a Good Nurse?," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 03/4, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Dec 2003.
  15. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives From Selection," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 369-398, 04.
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  17. Francesca Barigozzi & Gilberto Turati, 2012. "Human health care and selection effects. Understanding labor supply in the market for nursing1," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 477-483, 04.
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  23. Antonio Merlo & Vincenzo Galasso & Massimiliano Landi & Andrea Mattozzi, 2008. "the Labor Market of Italian Politicians, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-024, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 May 2009.
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