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Trust the Police? Self-Selection of Motivated Agents into the German Police Force

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  • Friebel, Guido

    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Kosfeld, Michael

    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Thielmann, Gerd

    (Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei)

Abstract

We conduct experimental games with police applicants in Germany to investigate whether intrinsically motivated agents self-select into this type of public service. Our focus is on trustworthiness and the willingness to enforce norms of cooperation as key dimensions of intrinsic motivation in the police context. We find that police applicants are more trustworthy than non-applicants, i.e., they return higher shares as second-movers in a trust game. Furthermore, they invest more in rewards and punishment when they can enforce cooperation as a third party. Our results provide clear evidence for self-selection of motivated agents into the German police force, documenting an important mechanism that influences the match between jobs and agents in public service.

Suggested Citation

  • Friebel, Guido & Kosfeld, Michael & Thielmann, Gerd, 2016. "Trust the Police? Self-Selection of Motivated Agents into the German Police Force," IZA Discussion Papers 10410, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10410
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    Cited by:

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    2. Theodore Alysandratos & Sotiris Georganas & Matthias Sutter, 2022. "Reputation vs Selection Effects in Markets with Informational Asymmetries," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2022_08, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    3. Tukiainen, Janne & Blesse, Sebastian & Bohne, Albrecht & Giuffrida, Leonardo M. & Jääskeläinen, Jan & Luukinen, Ari & Sieppi, Antti, 2021. "What are the priorities of bureaucrats? Evidence from conjoint experiments with procurement officials," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-033, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Bauer, Kevin & Kosfeld, Michael & von Siemens, Ferdinand, 2021. "Incentives, Self-Selection, and Coordination of Motivated Agents for the Production of Social Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 14595, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Yahagi, Ken, 2021. "Law enforcement with motivated agents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    6. Mantilla, Cesar & Gelvez Ferreira, Juan David Gelvez & Nieto, Maria Paula, 2022. "Costly Norm Enforcement through Sanctions and Rewards: An Experiment with Colombian Future Police Officers," OSF Preprints aebxy, Center for Open Science.
    7. Florian H. Schneider & Fanny Brun & Roberto A. Weber, 2020. "Sorting and Wage Premiums in Immoral Work," CESifo Working Paper Series 8456, CESifo.
    8. Gill, Andrej & Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner & Sutter, Matthias, 2020. "Trustworthiness in the Financial Industry," IZA Discussion Papers 13583, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Florian Baumann & Sophie Bienenstock & Tim Friehe & Maiva Ropaul, 2023. "Fines as enforcers’ rewards or as a transfer to society at large? Evidence on deterrence and enforcement implications," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 196(3), pages 229-255, September.
    10. Cassar, Lea & Armouti-Hansen, Jesper & Dereky, Anna & Engl, Florian, 2021. "Efficiency Wages with Motivated Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 15723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Jean Beuve & Marian W Moszoro & Pablo T Spiller, 2023. "Doing It by the Book: Political Contestability and Public Contract Renegotiations," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 281-308.
    12. Tim Friehe & Murat C. Mungan, 2021. "The political economy of enforcer liability for wrongful police stops," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 23(1), pages 141-157, February.
    13. Jesper Armouti-Hansen & Lea Cassar & Anna Deréky & Florian Engl, 2020. "Efficiency Wages with Motivated Agents," CESifo Working Paper Series 8474, CESifo.
    14. Andrej Gill & Matthias Heinz & Heiner Schumacher & Matthias Sutter, 2020. "Trustworthiness in the financial industry," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 022, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    15. Andrej Gill & Matthias Heinz & Heiner Schumacher & Matthias Sutter, 2023. "Social Preferences of Young Professionals and the Financial Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 69(7), pages 3905-3919, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-selection; intrinsic motivation; public service; norm enforcement; trustworthiness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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