IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Your Loss Is My Gain: A Recruitment Experiment With Framed Incentives

  • Jonathan de Quidt

Empirically, labor contracts that financially penalize failure induce higher effort provision than economically identical contracts presented as paying a bonus for success, an effect attributed to loss aversion. This is puzzling, as penalties are infrequently used in practice. The most obvious explanation is selection: loss averse agents are unwilling to accept such contracts. I formalize this intuition, then run an experiment to test it. Surprisingly, I find that workers were 25 percent more likely to accept penalty contracts, with no evidence of adverse or advantageous selection. Consistent with the existing literature, penalty contracts also increased performance on the job by 0.2 standard deviations. I outline extensions to the basic theory that are consistent with the main results, but argue that more research is needed on the long-term effects of penalty contracts if we want to understand why firms seem unwilling to use them.

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/eopp52.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 52.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:52
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. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller & Philipp Weinschenk, 2010. "Binary Payment Schemes: Moral Hazard and Loss Aversion," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_38, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  2. Johannes Abeler & Armin Falk & Lorenz Götte & David Huffman, 2009. "Reference Points and Effort Provision," CESifo Working Paper Series 2585, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Working Papers 02-11, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  4. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," Scholarly Articles 3196335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2011. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," Discussion Papers 2011001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  6. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries With a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1993-2008, November.
  7. Baker, G.P. & Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Compensation And Incentives: Practice Vs. Theory," Papers 88-05, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  8. Tanjim Hossain & John A. List, 2009. "The Behavioralist Visits the Factory: Increasing Productivity Using Simple Framing Manipulations," NBER Working Papers 15623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eriksson, Tor & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2008. "Performance-pay, sorting and social motivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 412-421, November.
  10. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
  11. Horton, John Joseph & Rand, David Gertler & Zeckhauser, Richard Jay, 2010. "The Online Laboratory: Conducting Experiments in a Real Labor Market," Scholarly Articles 4448876, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  12. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000341, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. David De Meza & David C Webb, 2006. "Incentive Design under Loss Aversion," FMG Discussion Papers dp571, Financial Markets Group.
  14. Camerer, Colin & Babcock, Linda & Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard, 1996. "Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers: One Day At A time," Working Papers 960, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  15. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  16. Loewenstein, George & Adler, Daniel, 1995. "A Bias in the Prediction of Tastes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(431), pages 929-37, July.
  17. Koch, Alexander K. & Nafziger, Julia & Suvorov, Anton & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2014. "Self-rewards and personal motivation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 151-167.
  18. Just, David R. & Wu, Steve, 2005. "Loss Aversion and Reference Points in Contracts," Working Papers 127073, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  19. Rajshri Jayaraman & Debraj Ray & Francis de Vericourt, 2014. "Productivity Response to a Contract Change," NBER Working Papers 19849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Performance Pay and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. K. Hilken & K.J.M. De Jaegher & M. Jegers, 2013. "Strategic Framing in Contracts," Working Papers 13-04, Utrecht School of Economics.
  22. Vincent P Crawford & Juanjuan Meng, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers’ Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependent Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002281, David K. Levine.
  23. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  24. Luft, Joan, 1994. "Bonus and penalty incentives contract choice by employees," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 181-206, September.
  25. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin, 2010. "Performance Pay and Multi-dimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender," ROA Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  26. Druckman, James N, 2001. "Using Credible Advice to Overcome Framing Effects," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 62-82, April.
  27. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, June.
  28. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001267, UCLA Department of Economics.
  29. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
  30. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and Labor Supply: The Case of New York City Taxi Drivers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1069-82, June.
  31. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520, 07.
  32. Raymond P. Guiteras & B. Kelsey Jack, 2014. "Incentives, Selection and Productivity in Labor Markets: Evidence from Rural Malawi," NBER Working Papers 19825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 46-82, February.
  34. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Steven D. Levitt & John List & Sally Sadoff, 2012. "Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:52. 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.