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Love the job... or the patient? Task vs. mission-based motiviations in healthcare

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  • Sheheryar Banuri

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Philip Keefer

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Damien de Walque

    (The World Bank)

Abstract

A booming literature has argued that mission-based motives are a central feature of mission-oriented labor markets. We shift the focus to task-based motivation and find that it yields significantly more effort than mission-based. Moreover, in the presence of significant task motivation, mission motivation has no additional effect on effort. The evidence emerges from experiments with nearly 250 medical and nursing students in Burkina Faso. The students exert effort in three tasks, from boring to interesting. In addition, for half of the students, mission motivation is present: their effort on the task generates benefits for a charity. Two strong results emerge. First, task motivation has an economically important effect on effort, more than doubling effort. Second, mission motivation increases effort, but only for mundane tasks and not when the task is interesting. Even for mundane tasks, moreover, the effects of mission motivation appear to be less than those of task motivation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sheheryar Banuri & Philip Keefer & Damien de Walque, 2017. "Love the job... or the patient? Task vs. mission-based motiviations in healthcare," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 17-09, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  • Handle: RePEc:uea:wcbess:17-09
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeworrek, Sabrina & Mertins, Vanessa, 2019. "Mission, motivation, and the active decision to work for a social cause," IWH Discussion Papers 10/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    2. Sheheryar Banuri & Katarina Dankova & Philip Keefer, 2017. "It's not all fun and games: Feedback, task motivation, and effort," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 17-10, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    3. Mattia Fracchia & Teresa Molina-Millan & Pedro C. Vicente, 2021. "Motivating volunteer health workers in an African capital city," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2109, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    4. Nadia Burani, 2021. "No mission? No motivation. On hospitals' organizational form and charity care provision," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(12), pages 3203-3219, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public sector reform; civil service; intrinsic motivation; extrinsic motivation; performance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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