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The Role of Salience in Performance Schemes: Evidence from a Field Experiment

  • Englmaier, Florian
  • Roider, Andreas
  • Sunde, Uwe

Incentive schemes affect performance and priorities of agents but, in reality, they can be complicated even for simple tasks. We analyze the effects of the salience of incentives in a team production setting where the principal has an interest in quantity and quality of output. We use data from a controlled field experiment that changed the communication of the incentive system without changing the incentive system. The results indicate that salience of incentives itself is statistically and economically important for performance. We find that higher salience of incentives for quantity increases quantity, reduces quality, and increases in-pocket income of team managers.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8921.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8921
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  1. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," NBER Working Papers 16205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2006. "Incentives for Managers and Inequality Among Workers: Evidence from a Firm Level Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5649, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2011. "Was There Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 224-38, January.
  14. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2011. "Limited and varying consumer attention: evidence from shocks to the salience of bank overdraft fees," Working Papers 11-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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