IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

No Margin, no Mission? A Field Experiment on Incentives for public service delivery

Listed author(s):
  • Nava Ashraf
  • Oriana Bandiera
  • Kelsey Jack

A substantial body of research investigates the design of incentives in firms, yet less is known about incentives in organizations that hire individuals to perform tasks with positive social spillovers. We conduct a field experiment in which agents hired by a public health organization are randomly allocated to four groups. Agents in the control group receive a standard volunteer contract often offered for this type of task, whereas agents in the three treatment groups receive small financial rewards, large financial rewards, and non-financial rewards, respectively. The analysis yields three main findings. First, non-financial rewards are more effective at eliciting effort than either financial rewards or the volunteer contract. The effect of financial rewards, both large and small, is much smaller and not significantly different from zero. Second, non-financial rewards elicit effort both by leveraging intrinsic motivation for the cause and by facilitating social comparison among agents. Third, contrary to existing laboratory evidence, financial incentives do not crowd out intrinsic motivation in this setting.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/eopp/eopp35.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series with number 035.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:035
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
  2. Lorenz Goette & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Blood donations and incentives: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers 08-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, 06.
  4. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
  5. Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis & Robert Slonim, 2011. "Rewarding Altruism? A Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers 2011-010, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
  6. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity: Evidence from voluntary contributions to a national park in Costa Rica," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1047-1060, June.
  7. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2008. "Awards - A View From Psychological Economics," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-15, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  8. Edward P. Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto A. Weber, 2012. "Sorting in Experiments with Application to Social Preferences," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 136-163, January.
  9. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  10. Adriaan Soetevent, 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context-a field experiment in thirty churches," Framed Field Experiments 00198, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Lacetera, Nicola & Macis, Mario, 2010. "Social image concerns and prosocial behavior: Field evidence from a nonlinear incentive scheme," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 225-237, November.
  12. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 556-590, April.
  13. Edward Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2017. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 678-680, May.
  15. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  16. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  17. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2011. "Personnel Economics: Hiring and Incentives," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  18. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
  19. Carl Mellström & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 845-863, 06.
  20. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
  21. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
  22. Craig Landry & Andreas Lange & John List & Michael Price & Nicholas Rupp, 2011. "The Hidden Benefits of Control: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00594, The Field Experiments Website.
  23. Carol Propper & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Can Pay Regulation Kill? Panel Data Evidence on the Effect of Labor Markets on Hospital Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 222-273, 04.
  24. 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.
  25. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2017. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 678-680, May.
  26. Karlan, Dean & McConnell, Margaret A., 2014. "Hey look at me: The effect of giving circles on giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 402-412.
  27. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez & Laszlo Sandor, 2014. "What Policies Increase Prosocial Behavior? An Experiment with Referees at the Journal of Public Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 169-188, Summer.
  28. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
  29. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2007. "Incentives for Managers and Inequality among Workers: Evidence from a Firm-Level Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 729-773.
  30. Stephan Meier, 2007. "Do Subsidies Increase Charitable Giving in the Long Run? Matching Donations in a Field Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(6), pages 1203-1222, December.
  31. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
  32. 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.
  33. Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 39-77.
  34. Avinash Dixit, 2002. "# Incentives and Organizations in the Public Sector: An Interpretative Review," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 696-727.
  35. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2017. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 678-680, May.
  36. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status in Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. Benjamin A. Olken & Junko Onishi & Susan Wong, 2014. "Should Aid Reward Performance? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Health and Education in Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 1-34, October.
  40. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2017. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 678-680, May.
  41. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2017. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 678-680, May.
  42. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2017. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 678-680, May.
  43. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
  44. Sebastian Kube & Michel Andre Marechal & Clemens Puppe, 2012. "The Currency of Reciprocity: Gift Exchange in the Workplace," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1644-1662, June.
  45. Charles E. Scott & John J. Siegfried, 2017. "American Economic Association Universal Academic Questionnaire Summary Statistics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 678-680, May.
  46. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Benedikt Herrmann & Frédéric Schneider, 2011. "Social comparison in the workplace: evidence from a field experiment," ECON - Working Papers 007, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  47. Paul Glewwe & Nauman Ilias & Michael Kremer, 2010. "Teacher Incentives," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 205-227, July.
  48. Roland G. Fryer, 2013. "Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 373-407.
  49. Michael Kosfeld & Susanne Neckermann, 2011. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 86-99, August.
  50. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:678-80 is not listed on IDEAS
  51. Victor Lavy, 2002. "Evaluating the Effect of Teachers' Group Performance Incentives on Pupil Achievement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1286-1317, December.
  52. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2011. "Field Experiments with Firms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 63-82, Summer.
  53. repec:feb:framed:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
  54. Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from New York City Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 16850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Ian Larkin & Stephen Leider, 2012. "Incentive Schemes, Sorting, and Behavioral Biases of Employees: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 184-214, May.
  56. Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2005. "Anonymity in giving in a natural context--a field experiment in 30 churches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2301-2323, December.
  57. Garber, Alan M. & Phelps, Charles E., 1997. "Economic foundations of cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-31, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:035. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.