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

Listed author(s):
  • Katharina M. Eckartz

    ()

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

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.

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File URL: http://pubdb.wiwi.uni-jena.de/pdf/wp_2014_005.pdf
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Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2014-005.

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Date of creation: 19 Feb 2014
Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2014-005
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  1. 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, 06.
  2. repec:zur:iewwpx:488 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Alwine Mohnen & Kathrin Pokorny & Dirk Sliwka, 2008. "Transparency, Inequity Aversion, and the Dynamics of Peer Pressure in Teams: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 693-720, October.
  4. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
  5. 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.
  6. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences, and Gender," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 556-590, April.
  7. Daniel Houser & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter & Erte Xiao, 2017. "Temptation and Commitment in the Laboratory," Working Papers 1720, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
  8. Katharina Eckartz & Oliver Kirchkamp & Daniel Schunk, 2012. "How do Incentives affect Creativity?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-068, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  9. Corgnet, Brice & Hernan-Gonzalez, Roberto & Rassenti, Stephen, 2015. "Peer Pressure and Moral Hazard in Teams: Experimental Evidence," Review of Behavioral Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(4), pages 379-403, December.
  10. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
  11. Dickinson, David L, 1999. "An Experimental Examination of Labor Supply and Work Intensities," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 638-670, October.
  12. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  13. Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Experimenter demand effects in economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(1), pages 75-98, March.
  14. Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio M. Espin & Pablo Branas-Garza, 2012. "Experimental Subjects are Not Different," Working Papers 12-11, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  15. Gary L. Brase, 2009. "How different types of participant payments alter task performance," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(5), pages 419-428, August.
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