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Incentives for Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Reputations

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  • Christine Exley

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

In public settings, the impact of monetary incentives on prosocial behavior is empirically mixed. Existing theory explains these finding by noting that incentives can introduce public signals that may or may not crowd out motivation to volunteer. The strength of these public signals are normally unobserved by the researcher, so it remains unclear as to when significant crowding out is likely to occur and render incentives ineffective. I overcome this ambiguity by examining individuals for whom the signal strength is likely zero - those with strong public reputations. In a laboratory experiment, I show that the crowd out in response to public incentives is much less likely among those with public reputations as opposed to private reputations, particularly for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Christine Exley, 2013. "Incentives for Prosocial Behavior: The Role of Reputations," Discussion Papers 12-022, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:12-022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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