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Intention-Based Reciprocity and the Hidden Costs of Control

  • Ferdinand von Siemens
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    Empirical research suggests that - rather than improving incentives - exerting control can reduce workers' performance by eroding motivation. The present paper shows that intention-based reciprocity can cause such motivational crowding-out if individuals differ in their propensity for reciprocity and preferences are private information. Not being controlled might then be considered to be kind, because not everybody reciprocates not being controlled with high effort. This argument stands in contrast to existing theoretical wisdom on motivational crowding-out that is primarily based on signaling models.

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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3553.

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    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3553
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    1. Doruk İriş & Luís Santos-Pinto, 2013. "Tacit Collusion under Fairness and Reciprocity," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 50-65, February.
    2. Dickinson, David L. & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2004. "Does Monitoring Decrease Work Effort? The Complementarity Between Agency and Crowding-Out Theories," IZA Discussion Papers 1222, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Schnedler, Wendelin & Vadovic, Radovan, 2007. "Legitimacy of Control," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-61, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    4. Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
    5. Florian Englmaier & Stephen Leider, 2012. "Contractual and Organizational Structure with Reciprocal Agents," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 146-83, May.
    6. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
    7. Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 2293, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Ariely, Dan & Kamenica, Emir & Prelec, Drazen, 2008. "Man's search for meaning: The case of Legos," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 671-677, September.
    9. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
    10. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    11. Suvorov, Anton & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2009. "Discretionary rewards as a feedback mechanism," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 665-681, November.
    12. von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2009. "Bargaining under incomplete information, fairness, and the hold-up problem," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 486-494, August.
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