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Motivation Crowding Theory: A Survey Of Empirical Evidence, Revised Version

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Reto Jegen

The Motivation Crowding Effect suggests that external intervention via monetary incentives punishments may undermine, and under different identifiable conditions strengthen, intrinsic motivation. As of today, the theoretical possibility of motivation crowding has been the main subject of discussion among economists. This study demonstrates that the effect is also of empirical relevance. There exist a large number of studies, offering empirical evidence in support of the existence of crowding-out crowding-in exists. The study is based on circumstantial evidence, laboratory studies by both psychologists and economists, as well as field research by econometric studies. The pieces of evidence presented refer to a wide variety of areas of the economy and society and have been collected for many different countries and periods of time. Crowding effects thus are an empirically relevant phenomenon, which can, in specific cases, even dominate the traditional relative price effect.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 049.

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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:049
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  1. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," NBER Working Papers 5435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Chang, Juin-jen & Lai, Ching-chong, 1999. "Carrots or sticks? A social custom viewpoint on worker effort," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 297-310, June.
  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. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
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