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Task enjoyment and opportunity costs in the lab - the effect of financial incentives on performance in real effort tasks

Author

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  • Katharina M. Eckartz

    () (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World)

Abstract

This study is directly motivated by the results of Eckartz et al (2012). Subjects exerted suprisingly high efforts irrespectively of how they were compensated. This paper discusses a number of potential explanations and then it will focus on two of them: first, subjects might exert effort simply because they enjoy working on the tasks. Second, subjects might exert effort because they feel obliged to do so or because they do not have opportunity costs of working. These questions are crucial to better understand the robustness of experimental results and also to be eventually able to transfer the results to the world outside the laboratory. We replicate our earlier results: in the baseline treatment we do not find effects of incentive schemes on the output. Decreasing the attractiveness of the tasks, we also do not observe differences between the incentive schemes. When we introduce, however, a paid outside option, the efforts are higher in the performance-dependent pay treatments than under flat payment. The size of the effect differs between the tasks, the direction is, however, the same.

Suggested Citation

  • Katharina M. Eckartz, 2014. "Task enjoyment and opportunity costs in the lab - the effect of financial incentives on performance in real effort tasks," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-005, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2014-005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blumkin, Tomer & Ruffle, Bradley J. & Ganun, Yosef, 2012. "Are income and consumption taxes ever really equivalent? Evidence from a real-effort experiment with real goods," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1200-1219.
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    3. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
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    6. Katharina Eckartz & Oliver Kirchkamp & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "How do Incentives affect Creativity?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-068, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    7. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Felipe A. Araujo & Erin Carbone & Lynn Conell-Price & Marli W. Dunietz & Ania Jaroszewicz & Rachel Landsman & Diego Lamé & Lise Vesterlund & Stephanie W. Wang & Alistair J. Wilson, 2016. "The slider task: an example of restricted inference on incentive effects," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-12, May.
    2. Simon Gächter & Lingbo Huang & Martin Sefton, 2016. "Combining “real effort” with induced effort costs: the ball-catching task," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 687-712, December.
    3. Felipe Augusto de Araujo & Erin Carbone & Lynn Conell-Price & Marli W. Dunietz & Ania Jaroszewicz & Rachel Landsman & Diego Lamé & Lise Vesterlund & Stephanie Wang & Alistair J. Wilson, 2015. "The Effect of Incentives on Real Effort: Evidence from the Slider Task," CESifo Working Paper Series 5372, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Sonntag, Axel & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2017. "Accountability one step removed," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168235, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Markus Pasche, 2014. "Welfare Effects of Endogenous Copyright Enforcement - the Case of Digital Goods," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    6. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:24-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:eecrev:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:528-545 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Creativity; Incentives; Real effort task; Experimental methods;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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