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Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes

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  • Sliwka, Dirk

    (University of Cologne)

Abstract

An explanation for motivation crowding-out phenomena is developed in a social preferences framework. Besides selfish and fair or altruistic types a third type of agents is introduced: These 'conformists' have social preferences if they believe that sufficiently many of the others do too. When there is asymmetric information about the distribution of preferences (the 'social norm'), the incentive scheme offered or autonomy granted can reveal a principal's beliefs about that norm. High-powered incentives may crowd out motivation as pessimism about the norm is conveyed. But by choosing fixed wages or granting autonomy the principal may signal trust in a favorable social norm.

Suggested Citation

  • Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 2293, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2293
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    conformity; social norms; motivation crowding-out; incentives; intrinsic motivation; social preferences; trust; selection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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