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Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)

No 10/2013:
Leadership and incentives.

Alexander W. Cappelen (), Bjørn-Atle Reme (), Erik Ø. Sørensen () and Bertil Tungodden ()

Abstract: We study whether compensating people who volunteer to be leaders in a public goods game creates a social crowding-out effect of moral motivation among the others in the group. We report from an experiment with four treatments, where the base treatment is a standard public goods game with simultaneous contribution decisions, while the three other treatments allowed participants to volunteer to be an “early contributor” in their group. In the three leader treatments, we manipulate the level of compensation given to the leader. Our main finding is that a moderate compensation to the leader is highly beneficial, it increases the average contribution by almost 80%. A high compensation, however, is detrimental to public good provision. We show that paying a moderate compensation to the leaders strikes the right balance between the need for recruiting leaders and avoiding a large social crowding-out effect. We argue that the main findings of the paper are important in many real life settings where we would like to use economic incentives to encourage people to lead by example.

Keywords: Voluntariness; Group behavior; Public goods; Laoratory.; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C72; C92; H41; (follow links to similar papers)

59 pages, April 12, 2013

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