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Using Money To Motivate Both Saints And Sinners: A Field Experiment On Motivational Crowding-Out

  • Antoine BERETTI
  • Charles FIGUIERES
  • Gilles GROLLEAU

Economists recognize that monetary incentives can backfire through the crowding-out of moral and social motivations leading to an overall decrease of the desired behavior. We implement a field experiment where participants are asked to fill a questionnaire on pro-environmental behaviors under different incentive schemes, either with no monetary incentive (control) or with low or high monetary incentive directed either to the respondents or to an environmental cause. We investigate whether (i) there is a significant crowding-out effect, (ii) directing monetary incentive to the cause rather than to the respondents reduces the overall impact of a crowding-out effect, and (iii) offering the choice regarding the money recipient a ects participation. Except for a high monetary incentive where the respondent chooses himself the end-recipient, we show that monetary rewards directed either at the individual or at the cause actually harms intrinsic motivations, but not to the same extent. We formalize our results building on an adaptation of an original model by Bolle and Otto (2010) and introduce agents heterogeneity in terms of intrinsic motivation. This heterogeneity has key implications for the understanding of the crowding-out e ect. Several policy recommendations regarding the use of market-based instruments are drawn.

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File URL: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/Documents/DR2011-15.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 11-15.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision: Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:11-15
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Web page: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/

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  1. Reeson, Andrew F. & Tisdell, John G., 2008. "Institutions, motivations and public goods: An experimental test of motivational crowding," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 273-281, October.
  2. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4633, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2007. "Doing good or doing well? Image motivation and monetary incentives in behaving prosocially," Working Papers 07-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Bruno Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(3), pages 377-, September.
  6. Mellström, Carl & Johannesson, Magnus, 2005. "Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?," Working Papers in Economics 180, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 08 Feb 2008.
  7. Friedel Bolle & Philipp E. Otto, 2010. "A Price Is a Signal: on Intrinsic Motivation, Crowding-out, and Crowding-in," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 9-22, 02.
  8. Dickinson, David L. & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2004. "Does Monitoring Decrease Work Effort? The Complementarity Between Agency and Crowding-Out Theories," IZA Discussion Papers 1222, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, 09.
  10. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
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