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The Spillover Effects of Monitoring: A Field Experiment

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Abstract

We provide field experimental evidence of the effects of monitoring in a context where productivity is multi-dimensional and only one dimension is monitored and incentivised. We hire students to do a job for us. The job consists of identifying euro coins. We study the effects of monitoring and penalising mistakes on work quality, and evaluate spillovers on non-incentivised dimensions of productivity (punctuality and theft). We find that monitoring improves work quality only if incentives are large, but reduces punctuality substantially irrespectively of the size of incentives. Monitoring does not affect theft, with ten per cent of participants stealing overall. Our setting also allows us to disentangle between possible theoretical mechanisms driving the adverse effects of monitoring. Our findings are supportive of a reciprocity mechanism, whereby workers retaliate for being distrusted.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele Belot & Marina Schroder, 2013. "The Spillover Effects of Monitoring: A Field Experiment," ESE Discussion Papers 238, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:238
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    Cited by:

    1. Engl, Florian & Riedl, Arno & Weber, Roberto A., 2016. "Spillover Effects of Institutions on Cooperative Behavior, Preferences, and Beliefs," Research Memorandum 016, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    2. repec:eee:ejores:v:264:y:2018:i:2:p:462-471 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    counterproductive behaviour; monitoring; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • M42 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Auditing
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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