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Does Pay Motivate Volunteers?

Author

Listed:
  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Lorenz Goette

Abstract

Volunteer work is an increasingly large, yet ill-understood sector of the economy. We show that monetary rewards undermine the intrinsic motivation of volunteers. A unique data set from Switzerland allows us to assess the effects of financial rewards on the effort put into volunteer work. There is a fairly standard pattern regarding the volunteers reaction e.g. to more labor market work hours. But we obtain the puzzling result that, when rewarded, volunteers work less. These findings are in line with a large literature in social psychology emphasizing that external rewards can undermine the intrinsic motivation for an activity. We show the implications for public policy towards volunteering.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & Lorenz Goette, "undated". "Does Pay Motivate Volunteers?," IEW - Working Papers 007, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:007
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp007.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1997. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 140-166, January.
    2. Frey, Bruno S, 1992. "Tertium Datur: Pricing, Regulating and Intrinsic Motivation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 161-184.
    3. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-1053, July.
    4. Brown, Eleanor & Lankford, Hamilton, 1992. "Gifts of money and gifts of time estimating the effects of tax prices and available time," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 321-341, April.
    5. Menchik, Paul L. & Weisbrod, Burton A., 1987. "Volunteer labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-183, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Uri Gneezy, 2003. "The W effect of incentives," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000315, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    3. Bruno, B., 2010. "Rewarding my Self. The role of Self Esteem and Self Determination in Motivation Crowding Theory," MPRA Paper 23117, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Jens-Ulrich Peter & Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hopp�, "undated". "Business Cycle Phenomena in Overlapping Generations Economies with Stochastic Production," IEW - Working Papers 030, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Schenk-Hoppe, Klaus Reiner & Schmalfu[ss], Bjorn, 2001. "Random fixed points in a stochastic Solow growth model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 19-30, September.
    6. Franz Hackl & Martin Halla & Gerald J. Pruckner, 2007. "Volunteering and Income - The Fallacy of the Good Samaritan?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 77-104, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Volunteer Work; Crowding-Out; Intrinsic Motivation; Price Incentives.;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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