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16:00 - 18:00 2 March 2011

No Margin, No Mission? A Field Experiment on Incentives in the Social Sector


Ricardo Lecture Theatre | Drayton House (link Map)
30 Gordon Street | London | WC1H 0AN | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Oriana Bandiera, Professor of Economics, LSE

Deparmental Seminar


A substantial body of research investigates the design of incentives in firms, yet less is known about incentives in organizations that hire individuals to perform tasks that have positive social spillovers. We conduct a randomized field experiment in Zambia in which four different groups of agents are offered four different compensation packages to perform the same task for a public health organization. The compensation treatments include a standard volunteer contract, a low-powered financial reward scheme, a high-powered financial reward scheme, and a symbolic reward scheme. Evidence shows that agents in the symbolic reward treatment substantially outperform all other treatments. Across treatments, intrinsic motivation is a strong determinant of performance. However, contrary to existing laboratory evidence, financial incentives reinforce, rather than crowd out, intrinsic motivation.


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