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Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance

Michael Kosfeld () and Susanne Neckermann

No 5040, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

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 from the organization honoring the best performance. The award was purely symbolic in order to ensure that any behavioral effect is driven by non-material benefits. Our results show that students in the award treatment outperform students in the control treatment by about 12 percent on average. Our results provide strong evidence for the motivating power of status and social recognition in labor relations with major implications for theory and applications.

Keywords: award; non-monetary incentives; status; field experiment; social recognition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 M52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 21 pages
Date: 2010-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-lab
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (16) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in: American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 2011, 3 (3), 86-99

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