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Motivating Knowledge Agents: Can Incentive Pay Overcome Social Distance?

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  • Erlend Berg
  • Maitreesh Ghatak
  • R Manjula
  • D Rajasekhar
  • Sanchari Roy

Abstract

This paper studies the interaction of incentive pay and social distance in the dissemination of information. We analyse theoretically as well as empirically the effect of incentive pay when agents have pro-social objectives, but also preferences over dealing with one social group relative to another. In a randomised field experiment undertaken across 151 villages in South India, local agents were hired to spread information about a public health insurance programme. Relative to at pay, incentive pay improves knowledge transmission to households that are socially distant from the agent, but not to households similar to the agent.

Suggested Citation

  • Erlend Berg & Maitreesh Ghatak & R Manjula & D Rajasekhar & Sanchari Roy, 2013. "Motivating Knowledge Agents: Can Incentive Pay Overcome Social Distance?," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 042, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:042
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    Cited by:

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    3. Cátia Batista & Marcel Fafchamps & Pedro C Vicente, 2022. "Keep It Simple: A Field Experiment on Information Sharing among Strangers [Changing Saving and Investment Behavior: The Impact of Financial Literacy Training and Reminders on Micro-Businesses]," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank, vol. 36(4), pages 857-888.
    4. Singh, Nirvikar, 2018. "Financial Inclusion: Concepts, Issues and Policies for India," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt98p5m37s, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    5. Mahbubur Rahman & Tania Jahir & Farzana Yeasmin & Farzana Begum & Mosammot Mobashara & Khobair Hossain & Rizwana Khan & Rezwana Hossain & Fosiul Alam Nizame & Anika Jain & Elli Leontsini & Leanne Unic, 2021. "The Lived Experiences of Community Health Workers Serving in a Large-Scale Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Intervention Trial in Rural Bangladesh," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(7), pages 1-14, March.
    6. A. Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps, 2015. "Can Farmers Create Efficient Information Networks? Experimental Evidence from Rural India," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-07, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Fafchamps, Marcel & Islam, Asad & Malek, Mohammad Abdul & Pakrashi, Debayan, 2020. "Can referral improve targeting? Evidence from an agricultural training experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    8. Li, Sherry Xin & Wang, Shengzhe & Yang, Shuo, 2023. "What is in Local Dialects? A Field Experiment on Social Distance and Human Capital Development in Job Training," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
    9. Marx, Benjamin & Pons, Vincent & Suri, Tavneet, 2021. "Diversity and team performance in a Kenyan organization☆," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 197(C).
    10. Butschek, Sebastian & González Amor, Roberto & Kampkötter, Patrick & Sliwka, Dirk, 2022. "Motivating gig workers – evidence from a field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    11. Anup Malani & Cynthia Kinnan & Gabriella Conti & Kosuke Imai & Morgen Miller & Shailender Swaminathan & Alessandra Voena & Bartosz Woda, 2024. "Evaluating and Pricing Health Insurance in Lower-income Countries: A Field Experiment in India," NBER Working Papers 32239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Kirchkamp, Oliver & Mill, Wladislaw, 2020. "Conditional cooperation and the effect of punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 150-172.
    13. Nicole Black & Lachlan Deer & David W. Johnston & Johannes S. Kunz, 2023. "Are You Okay? Effects of a National Peer-Support Campaign on Mental Health," Papers 2023-08, Centre for Health Economics, Monash University.
    14. Singh, Prakarsh & Masters, William A., 2017. "Impact of caregiver incentives on child health: Evidence from an experiment with Anganwadi workers in India," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 219-231.
    15. A Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps, 2014. "Cooperation and Expectations in Networks: Evidence from a Network Public Good Experiment in Rural India," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-33, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    16. Delavallade, Clara, 2021. "Motivating teams: Private feedback and public recognition at work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 197(C).
    17. Raghunathan, Kalyani & Alvi, Muzna & Sehgal, Mrignyani, 2023. "Ethnicity, information and cooperation: Evidence from a group-based nutrition intervention," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    18. Delavallade,Clara Anne, 2021. "Motivating Teams : Private Feedback and Public Recognition at Work," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9621, The World Bank.
    19. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2018. "Prosocial Motivation and Incentives," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 411-438, August.
    20. Afridi, Farzana, 2017. "Governance and Public Service Delivery in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10856, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public services; information constraints; incentive pay; social proximity; knowledge transmission;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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