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Autonomy and Motivation: A Dual-Self Perspective

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  • Junichiro Ishida

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Junichiro Ishida, 2011. "Autonomy and Motivation: A Dual-Self Perspective," ISER Discussion Paper 0803, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0803
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    File URL: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2011/DP0803.pdf
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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. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    3. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
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