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

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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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    Cited by:

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    2. Sebastian J. Goerg & Sebastian Kube & Jonas Radbruch, 2019. "The Effectiveness of Incentive Schemes in the Presence of Implicit Effort Costs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(9), pages 4063-4078, September.
    3. Markus Pasche, 2014. "Welfare Effects of Endogenous Copyright Enforcement - the Case of Digital Goods," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. 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.
    5. Chen, Si & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2018. "Looking at the bright side: The motivation value of overconfidence," DICE Discussion Papers 291, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    6. Riedel, Nadine & Stüber, Robert, 2019. "Overearning – Revisited," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 75(PA).
    7. 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.
    8. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria, 2019. "Measuring costly effort using the slider task," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-9.
    9. 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.
    10. Sonntag, Axel & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2019. "Personal accountability and cooperation in teams," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 428-448.
    11. Sonntag, Axel & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2017. "Accountability one step removed," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168235, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Simone Haeckl & Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2018. "Work Motivation and Teams," Discussion Papers 18-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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    15. Erkal, Nisvan & Gangadharan, Lata & Koh, Boon Han, 2018. "Monetary and non-monetary incentives in real-effort tournaments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 528-545.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Creativity; Incentives; Real effort task; Experimental methods;
    All these keywords.

    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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