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Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance

Michael Kosfeld () and Susanne Neckermann

American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 2011, vol. 3, issue 3, 86-99

Abstract: We study the impact of status and social recognition on worker performance in a field experiment. In collaboration with an international non-governmental organization, we hired students to work on a database project. Students in the award treatment were offered a congratulatory card honoring the best performance. The award was purely symbolic to ensure that any behavioral effect is driven by non-material benefits. Our results show that the award increases performance by about 12 percent on average. The results provide strong evidence for the motivating power of status and social recognition in labor relations. (JEL C93, J33, M12, M52)

JEL-codes: C93 J33 M12 M52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.3.3.86
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