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Autonomy and Motivation: A Dual-Self Perspective

  • Junichiro Ishida

This paper provides a simple autonomy-based model of human motivation in which a decision maker with divided selves must perform some task. The key presumption of the model is that the brain is not a unitary system which is equipped to achieve a single goal in a systematic manner; rather, it is more like an organization which is hampered by several constraints such as preference incongruence and incomplete exchange (or imperfect recall) of information. Due to these constraints, the model yields behavioral patterns that are consistent with various stylized facts of human motivation, mostly found in social psychology. The main findings of the paper are: (i) more autonomy induces more motivation; (ii) complex tasks are susceptible to motivation crowding out; (iii) small rewards are detrimental to motivation; (iv) intrinsically interesting tasks are susceptible to motivation crowding out.

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File URL: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2011/DP0803.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University in its series ISER Discussion Paper with number 0803.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0803
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  1. 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.
  2. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
  3. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  4. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, . "The Hidden Costs of Control," IEW - Working Papers 250, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Ernst Fehr & John List, 2004. "The hidden costs and returns of incentives - trust and trustworthiness among ceos," Artefactual Field Experiments 00044, The Field Experiments Website.
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