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Hidden Costs of Control: Three Repetitions and an Extension

Author

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  • Matteo Ploner

    () (University of Trento, Department of Economics, Computable and Experimental Economics Laboratory)

  • Katrin Schmelz

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)

  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group, Jena)

Abstract

We report three repetitions of Falk and Kosfeld's (2006) low and medium control treatments with 364 subjects. Each repetition employs a sample drawn from a standard subject pool of students and demographics vary across samples. Our results largely conflict with those of the original study. We mainly observe hidden costs of control of low magnitude that lead to low-trust principal-agent relationships. Our subjects were asked, at the end of the experimental session, to complete a questionnaire in which they had to state their work motivation in hypothetical scenarios. Our questionnaires are identical to the ones administered in Falk and Kosfeld's (2006) questionnaire study. In contrast to the game play data, our questionnaire data are similar to those of the original questionnaire study. In an attempt to solve this puzzle, we report an extension with 228 subjects where performance-contingent earnings are absent i.e. both principals and agents are paid according to a flat participation fee. We observe that hidden costs outweigh benefits of control which shows that control aversion is more prevalent under hypothetical than under real incentives. Still, in the low control treatment, we observe much weaker negative responses to control in our extension than in the original study. This observation, the fact that the original study uses real incentives, and preliminary findings on the relationship between demographics and the degree of control aversion lead us to conclude that Falk and Kosfeld's (2006) experimental regularities originate from the characteristics of their subjects.

Suggested Citation

  • Matteo Ploner & Katrin Schmelz & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2010. "Hidden Costs of Control: Three Repetitions and an Extension," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2010-007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gerhard Riener & Simon Wiederhold, 2011. "On Social Identity, Subjective Expectations, and the Costs of Control," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-035, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Katharina Eckartz & Oliver Kirchkamp & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "How do Incentives Affect Creativity?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4049, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Schnedler, Wendelin & Vanberg, Christoph, 2014. "Playing ‘hard to get’: An economic rationale for crowding out of intrinsically motivated behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 106-115.
    4. Masella, Paolo & Meier, Stephan & Zahn, Philipp, 2014. "Incentives and group identity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 12-25.
    5. Katrin Schmelz & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2015. "Social Distance and Control Aversion: Evidence from the Internet and the Laboratory," TWI Research Paper Series 100, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    6. Riener, Gerhard & Wiederhold, Simon, 2013. "Heterogeneous treatment effects in groups," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 408-412.
    7. Simon Wiederhold, 2012. "The Role of Public Procurement in Innovation: Theory and Empirical Evidence," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 43.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Control; Demographics; Experimental Economics; Incentives; Intrinsic Motivation;

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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