The Behavioralist Visits the Factory: Increasing Productivity Using Simple Framing Manipulations
Recent discoveries in behavioral economics have led to important new insights concerning what can happen in markets. Such gains in knowledge have come primarily via laboratory experiments--a missing piece of the puzzle in many cases is parallel evidence drawn from naturally-occurring field counterparts. We provide a small movement in this direction by taking advantage of a unique opportunity to work with a Chinese high-tech manufacturing facility. Our study revolves around using insights gained from one of the most influential lines of behavioral research--framing manipulations--in an attempt to increase worker productivity in the facility. Using a natural field experiment, we report several insights. For example, conditional incentives framed as both "losses" and "gains" increase productivity for both individuals and teams. In addition, teams more acutely respond to bonuses posed as losses than as comparable bonuses posed as gains. The magnitude of the effect is roughly 1%: that is, total team productivity is enhanced by 1% purely due to the framing manipulation. Importantly, we find that neither the framing nor the incentive effect lose their importance over time; rather the effects are observed over the entire sample period. Moreover, we learn that worker reputation and conditionality of the bonus contract are substitutes for sustenance of incentive effects in the long-run production function.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Tanjim Hossain & John A. List, 2012. "The Behavioralist Visits the Factory: Increasing Productivity Using Simple Framing Manipulations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(12), pages 2151-2167, December.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006.
"Putting behavioral economics to work: Testing for gift exchange in labor markets using field experiments,"
Natural Field Experiments
00259, The Field Experiments Website.
- Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, 09.
- Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John A. List, 2003.
"Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace,"
NBER Working Papers
9736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, 03.
- John List, 2004. "Neoclassical theory versus prospect theory: Evidence from the marketplace," Framed Field Experiments 00174, The Field Experiments Website.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- John A. List, 2003.
"Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71.
- John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
- David Reiley & John List, 2008.
Artefactual Field Experiments
00091, The Field Experiments Website.
- Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-47, June.
- 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.
- Janet Landa & Xiao Wang, 2001. "Bounded Rationality of Economic Man: Decision Making under Ecological, Social, and Institutional Constraints," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 217-235, May.
- Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15623. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.