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Signaling and Screening of Workers' motivation

  • Josse Delfgaauw
  • Robert Dur

This paper develops a model in which workers to a certain extent enjoy working. We examine the implications of workers’ intrinsic motivation for optimal monetary incentive schemes. We show that motivated workers work harder and, for a given level of e.ort, are willing to work for a lower wage. When people di.er in their motivation to work at a particular firm, the profits of the firm depend on its capability to attract and select highly motivated workers. We show that when the firm has all the bargaining power and workers face application cost, the firm needs to commit to a minimum wage o.er in order to attract workers. A higher minimum wage increases the probability to fill the vacancy, but decreases the expected average quality of job applicants, as it induces lower motivated workers to apply. The optimal level of the minimum wage depends on whether or not the firm can observe the motivation of the applicants. If applicants can credibly signal their motivation, a minimum wage not only helps to attract workers, but also to select the best-motivated worker among the job applicants.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2003/wp-cesifo-2003-12/cesifo1_wp1099.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1099.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1099
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  1. Frey, Bruno S., 1997. "On the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation1," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 427-439, July.
  2. Baron, James N., 1988. "The employment relation as a social relation," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 492-525, December.
  3. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2202, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Bruno S. Frey, 1997. "Not Just for the Money," Books, Edward Elgar, number 1183.
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