DP11221 The Effects of Financial and Recognition Incentives Across Work Contexts: The Role of Meaning

Author(s): Michael Kosfeld, Susanne Neckermann, Xiaolan Yang
Publication Date: April 2016
Keyword(s): context factors, field experiment, interactions, meaning, monetary incentives, worker recognition
JEL(s): C93, J33, M12, M52
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11221

We manipulate workers' perceived meaning of a job in a field experiment and interact meaning of work with both financial and recognition incentives. Results show that workers exert more effort when meaning is high. Money has a positive effect on performance that is independent of meaning. In contrast, meaning and recognition interact negatively. Our results provide new insights into the stability of incentive effects across important work contexts. They also suggest that meaning and worker recognition may operate via the same motivational channel.