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Incentivizing Creativity: A Large-Scale Experiment with Tournaments and Gifts

Author

Listed:
  • Christiane Bradler

    (ZEW Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, Germany)

  • Susanne Neckermann

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and ZEW Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, Germany)

  • Arne Warnke

    (ZEW Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, Germany)

Abstract

This paper reports the results from a large-scale laboratory experiment investigating the impact of tournament incentives and wage gifts on creativity. We find that tournaments substantially increase creative output, with no evidence for crowding out of intrinsic motivation. By comparison, wage gifts are ineffective. Additional treatments show that it is the uncertain mapping between effort and output that inhibits reciprocity. This uncertainty is prevalent in creative and other complex tasks. Our findings provide a rationale for the frequent use of tournaments when seeking to motivate creative output.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiane Bradler & Susanne Neckermann & Arne Warnke, 2016. "Incentivizing Creativity: A Large-Scale Experiment with Tournaments and Gifts," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-035/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20160035
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    Cited by:

    1. Philippe Aghion & Stefan Bechtold & Lea Cassar & Holger Herz, 2018. "The Causal Effects of Competition on Innovation: Experimental Evidence," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 162-195.
    2. Katharina Laske & Marina Schroeder, 2016. "Quantity, Quality, and Originality: The Effects of Incentives on Creativity," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 07-01, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
    3. Giuseppe Attanasi & Michela Chessa & Sara Gil-Gallen & Patrick Llerena, 2021. "A survey on experimental elicitation of creativity in economics," Revue d'économie industrielle, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(2), pages 273-324.
    4. Joaquin Artes & Jennifer Graves & Meryl Motika, 2019. "Creativity under Pressure: Performance Payments, Task Type and Productivity," Working Papers 20190028, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Oct 2019.
    5. Daniel P. Gross, 2020. "Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Creative Production," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 583-599, July.
    6. Fischer, Mira & Wagner, Valentin, 2018. "Effects of Timing and Reference Frame of Feedback: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 11970, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Fischer, Mira & Wagner, Valentin, 2019. "Effects of Timing and Reference Frame of Feedback," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 150, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    creativity; incentives; tournament; reciprocity; experiment; crowding-out;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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