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Trust and Detection: An Experimental Investigation of Motivational Crowding Out


  • Matteo Ploner



Several contributions, either in economics and Social Psychology literature, have evidenced the negative impact of controlling practices on intrinsic motivation. The aim of the present paper is to experimentally test some implications of a controlling strategy in a simple game, called Big Brother, where an Agent and a Principal face some decisional tasks involving trust and trustworthiness. The game has been based on the well-known Investment Game introduced by Berg et al.. What has been registered in the data is that those who have to decide whether to introduce or not the monitoring strategy, the Principals, do not consider the possibility of reciprocity in the behavior of those who are monitored, the Agents. On the other side the Agents do not reciprocate positively to the decision of non-monitoring their activity. Even more surprisingly Agents who are detected in their intentions tend to "overshoot" in the effort exerted following the introduction of the costly monitoring strategy made by their Principal.

Suggested Citation

  • Matteo Ploner, 2005. "Trust and Detection: An Experimental Investigation of Motivational Crowding Out," CEEL Working Papers 0502, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpce:0502

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