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Effort as Investment: Analyzing the Response to Incentives

  • Friedman, John N.

    (Harvard U)

  • Kelman, Steven

We analyze a model in which incentives in one period on one task can affect output more broadly through learning. If agents can invest in human or organizational capital, then output will increase both before and after short-term incentives. We develop a model of these e¤ects, and then we evaluate its predictions using data from hospitals in Britain during a series of limited-time performance incentives offered by the government. We …nd empirically that these policies increase performance not only during the incentivized periods but also before and after, matching the preditctions of our model. We also examine performance along non-incentivized dimensions of quality of care and find little evidence of classical effort substitution.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp07-024.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp07-024
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  1. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
  2. Jeremy C. Stein, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-669.
  3. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  4. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
  5. Stephen Coate & Stephen Morris, . "Policy Persistence," CARESS Working Papres 97-2, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  6. David Dranove & Daniel Kessler & Mark McClellan & Mark Satterthwaite, 2003. "Is More Information Better? The Effects of "Report Cards" on Health Care Providers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 555-588, June.
  7. Canice Prendergast, 2003. "The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 929-958, October.
  8. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  9. McNichols, Maureen F., 2000. "Research design issues in earnings management studies," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4-5), pages 313-345.
  10. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810.
  11. Paul Oyer, 1998. "Fiscal Year Ends and Nonlinear Incentive Contracts: The Effect on Business Seasonality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 149-185.
  12. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 315-333.
  13. Heckman, James J & Heinrich, Carolyn & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Assessing the Performance of Performance Standards in Public Bureaucracies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 389-95, May.
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