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Strong intrinsic motivation

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  • Dessi, Roberta
  • Rustichini, Aldo

Abstract

A large literature in psychology, and more recently in economics, has argued that monetary rewards can reduce intrinsic motivation. We investigate whether the negative impact persists when intrinsic motivation is strong, and test this hypothesis experimentally focusing on the motivation to undertake interesting and challenging tasks, informative about individual ability. We find that this type of task can generate strong intrinsic motivation, that is impervious to the effect of monetary incentives, particularly when the individual is "racing against himself". In our experiments, monetary incentives have no significant impact on performance. In a second experiment using the same kind of task but a setting designed to weaken intrinsic motivation, monetary incentives do have a significant, positive, effect on performance. This result confirms that our experimental setup may, with appropriate conditions, replicate the known crowding out effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Dessi, Roberta & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Strong intrinsic motivation," IDEI Working Papers 847, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:29268
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    Cited by:

    1. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Nicolas Jacquemet & Stéphane Luchini & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2016. "Fluid intelligence and cognitive reflection in a strategic environment: evidence from dominance-solvable games," Post-Print hal-01359231, HAL.
    2. Dessí, Roberta & Gallo, Edoardo & Goyal, Sanjeev, 2016. "Network cognition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 78-96.
    3. Takahashi, Hiromasa & Shen, Junyi & Ogawa, Kazuhito, 2016. "An experimental examination of compensation schemes and level of effort in differentiated tasks," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 12-19.
    4. Taylor, Matthew P., 2020. "Heterogeneous motivation and cognitive ability in the lab," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    5. Marco Faillo & Costanza Piovanelli, 2017. "Wage delegation and intrinsic motivation: an experimental study," CEEL Working Papers 1701, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

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