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Sloppy Work, Lies and Theft: A Novel Experimental Design to Study Counterproductive Behaviour

Author

Listed:
  • Michèle Belot

    () (School of Management, University of Edinburgh)

  • Marina Schröder

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

Abstract

We propose a novel experimental design to study counterproductive behaviour in a principal agent setting. The design allows us to study and derive clean measures of different forms of counterproductive behaviour in a controlled but non obtrusive manner. We ask participants to complete a specific task (identify euro coins) and report their output. Participants can engage in various forms of counterproductive behaviour, none of them being offered to them explicitly. They can make mistakes in the identification task, lie in their report or even steal coins. We present an application of the design to study the effects of different pay schemes (competition, fixed pay and piece rate) on counterproductive behaviour. On average counterproductive behaviour amounts to 10 percent of the average productivity, almost all arising through mistakes and overreporting of output. We find essentially no evidence of theft. Moreover, we find that both productive and counterproductive behaviour are significantly higher under competition than under the two other pay schemes.

Suggested Citation

  • Michèle Belot & Marina Schröder, 2012. "Sloppy Work, Lies and Theft: A Novel Experimental Design to Study Counterproductive Behaviour," FEMM Working Papers 120018, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:120018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Markets vs morals
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-09-24 18:45:50

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Julian Conrads & Mischa Ellenberger & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elia Nora Ohms & Rainer Michael Rilke & Gari Walkowitz, 2017. "Team Goal Incentives and Individual Lying Behavior," WHU Working Paper Series - Economics Group 17-02, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.
    3. Michèle Belot & Marina Schröder, 2013. "Does Monitoring Work? A Field Experiment with Multiple Forms of Counterproductive Behaviour," FEMM Working Papers 130006, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    4. Glenn Dutcher & Daniela Gl�tzle-R�tzler & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2016. "Don't hate the player, hate the game: Uncovering the foundations of cheating in contests," Working Papers 2016-29, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    5. Filippin, Antonio & Gioia, Francesca, 2017. "Competition and Subsequent Risk-Taking Behaviour: Heterogeneity across Gender and Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 10792, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Gravert, Christina, 2013. "How luck and performance affect stealing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 301-304.
    7. Gneezy, Uri & Saccardo, Silvia & van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2016. "Bribery: Greed versus reciprocity," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2016-203, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    8. Reuben, Ernesto & Stephenson, Matt, 2013. "Nobody likes a rat: On the willingness to report lies and the consequences thereof," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 384-391.
    9. Faravelli, Marco & Friesen, Lana & Gangadharan, Lata, 2015. "Selection, tournaments, and dishonesty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 160-175.
    10. Bernd Irlenbusch & Marie Claire Villeval, 2015. "Behavioral ethics: how psychology influenced economics and how economics might inform psychology?," Post-Print halshs-01159696, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    counterproductive behaviour; compensation; experiment; competition; piece rate; ?fixed pay;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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