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Competitive incentives: working harder or working smarter?

  • Anat Bracha
  • Chaim Fershtman

Almost all jobs require a combination of cognitive effort and labor effort. This paper focuses on the effect that competitive incentive schemes have on the chosen combination of these two types of efforts. We use an experimental approach to show that competitive incentives may induce agents to work harder but not necessarily smarter. This effect was stronger for women.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 12-12.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:12-12
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  1. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2009. "Outrunning the Gender Gap – Boys and Girls Compete Equally," SIFR Research Report Series 69, Institute for Financial Research.
  3. John List & Kenneth Leonard & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender differences in competition: Evidence from a matrilineal and a patriarchal society," Artefactual Field Experiments 00049, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  5. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  6. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2009. "Choosing To Compete: How Different Are Girls and Boys?," Economics Discussion Papers 673, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  7. Lazear, Edward P, 2000. "The Future of Personnel Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F611-39, November.
  8. Martin G. Kocher & Marc V. Lenz & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Psychological pressure in competitive environments: Evidence from a randomized natural experiment: Comment," NCER Working Paper Series 55, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  9. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-24, December.
  10. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  11. Uri Gneezy & Stephan Meier & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "When and Why Incentives (Don't) Work to Modify Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
  12. Dreber, Anna & Johannesson, Magnus, 2008. "Gender differences in deception," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 197-199, April.
  13. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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