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Individual Creativity, Ex-ante Goals and Financial Incentives

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  • Charness, Gary
  • Grieco, Daniela

Abstract

Creativity is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon that has hardly been considered byeconomists, despite a great deal of economic importance. This paper presents a series ofexperiments where subjects face creativity tasks where, in one case, ex-ante goals and constraintsare imposed on their answers, and in the other case no restrictions apply. The effects of financialincentives in stimulating creativity in both types of tasks is then tested, together with the impactof personal features like risk and ambiguity aversion. Our findings show that, in general,financial incentives affect “in-box” (constrained) creativity, but do not facilitate “blue sky”(unconstrained) creativity. However, in the latter case incentives do play a role for ambiguityaverseagents, who tend to be significantly less creative and seem to need extrinsic motivation toexert effort in a task whose odds of success they don’t know. We do find that measures ofcreative style, sensation-seeking preferences, and past involvement in artistic endeavors arerelated to our creativity score, but do not find any difference across gender for either form ofcreativity.

Suggested Citation

  • Charness, Gary & Grieco, Daniela, 2013. "Individual Creativity, Ex-ante Goals and Financial Incentives," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4mr6p1d5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt4mr6p1d5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
    2. 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.
    3. Gary Charness & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Incentives to Exercise," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 909-931, May.
    4. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2009. "Large Stakes and Big Mistakes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 451-469.
    5. David W. Galenson, 2004. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Very Young or Very Old Innovator: Creativity at the Extremes of the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 10515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gary Charness, University of California, Santa Barbara and Garance Genicot,Georgetown University, 2004. "An Experimental Test of Risk-Sharing Arrangements," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-02, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bradler, Christiane & Neckermann, Susanne & Warnke, Arne Jonas, 2016. "Incentivizing creativity: A large-scale experiment with tournaments and gifts," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-040, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    2. Ylenia Curci & Mireille Matt & Isabelle Billard & Thierry Burger-Helmchen, 2017. "Are the risks of being creative manageable? The case of public research in Hard Science," Working Papers of BETA 2017-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    3. Michael Gibbs & Susanne Neckermann & Christoph Siemroth, 2017. "A Field Experiment in Motivating Employee Ideas," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 577-590, July.
    4. Giuseppe Attanasi & Michela Chessa & Sara Gil Gallen & Patrick Llerena, 2020. "A survey on experimental elicitation of creativity in economics," Working Papers of BETA 2020-23, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    5. Iryna Sikora, 2015. "Creative Production and Exchange of Ideas," 2015 Papers psi700, Job Market Papers.
    6. Bradler, Christiane, 2015. "How creative are you? An experimental study on self-selection in a competitive incentive scheme for creative performance," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-021, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

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    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences; creativity; incentives; ambiguity; constraints; ex-ante goals;
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