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Social Preferences and Public Economics: Are good laws a substitute for good citizens?

Samuel Bowles ()
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Samuel Bowles: Santa Fe Institute, University of Siena and University of Massachusetts

UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics

Abstract: Laws and policies designed to harness self-regarding preferences to public ends may fail when they compromise the beneficial effects of pro-social preferences. Experimental evidence indicates that incentives that appeal to self interest may reduce the salience of intrinsic motivation, reciprocity, and other civic motives. Motivational crowding in also occurs. The evidence for these processes is reviewed and a model of optimal explicit incentives is presented. JEL Categories: D64, D52, H41, H21, Z13, C92

Keywords: Social preferences; implementation theory; incentive contracts; incomplete contracts; framing; behavioral experiments; motivational crowding out; ethical norms; constitutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007-01, Revised 2008-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-pbe, nep-pke and nep-soc
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