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The Crowding-out of Work Ethics

  • Sverre Grepperud
  • Pål Andreas Pedersen

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    This paper analyses optimal contracts in a principal-agent model where the agent is intrinsically motivated at the outset and there is an endogenous relationship between the structure of incentive payments and intrinsic motivation (crowding effects). The analysis shows that crowding effects have implications for the optimal contract and that under some conditions the principal can do better without implementing any economic incentives. Furthermore, it is shown that when high-powered incentives diminish intrinsic motivation (crowding-out) the first-best solution in a principal-agent framework is unattainable.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp.ukc.ac.uk/pub/ejr/RePEc/ukc/ukcedp/0102.pdf
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    Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Kent in its series Studies in Economics with number 0102.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:0102
    Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP
    Phone: +44 (0)1227 827497
    Web page: http://www.kent.ac.uk/economics/

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    1. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
    2. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
    3. Frey, Bruno S., 1993. "Motivation as a limit to pricing," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 635-664, December.
    4. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
    5. Baron, James N., 1988. "The employment relation as a social relation," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 492-525, December.
    6. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
    7. Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Performance Pay And Top Management Incentives," Papers 88-04, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    8. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
    9. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith & Christopher Taber, 1996. "What Do Bureaucrats Do? The Effects of Performance Standards and Bureaucratic Preferences on Acceptance into the JTPA Program," NBER Working Papers 5535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
    11. Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-64, May.
    12. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
    13. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
    14. Barkema, Harry G, 1995. "Do Top Managers Work Harder When They Are Monitored?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 19-42.
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