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Using Money to Motivate Both ‘Saints’ and ‘Sinners’: a Field Experiment on Motivational Crowding-Out

Authors

  • Antoine Beretti,

    1. UMR LAMETA – SupAgro, Montpellier Cedex 1, France
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  • Charles Figuières,

    Corresponding author
    • UMR LAMETA, INRA, Montpellier Cedex 1, France
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  • Gilles Grolleau

    1. UMR LAMETA – SupAgro, Montpellier Cedex 1, France
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    • The authors greatly acknowledge the editors and anonymous referees of Kyklos for their feedback and suggestions. We are also grateful to Naoufel Mzoughi and Marc Willinger, participants at the LEF seminar (Nancy) and at various conferences and workshops for many helpful comments. And we thank the French research program GESSOL sponsored by the Ministère de l'Ecologie, du Développement durable,des Transports et du Logement, the Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) for financial support. The usual disclaimer applies.

corresponding author

Summary

Economists recognize that monetary incentives can backfire through the crowding-out of moral and social motivations leading to an overall decrease of the desired behaviour. Under the premise that agents are heterogeneous and have various intrinsic motivations we suggest precise strategies to reduce counterproductive motivational crowding-out. In order to test our suggestions, we implement a field experiment where participants are asked to fill a questionnaire on pro-environmental behaviours under different incentive schemes, either with no monetary incentive (control) or with low or high monetary incentive directed either to the respondents (design A) or to an environmental cause (design B), or with a choice offered between A and B (design C). We investigate (i) whether there is a significant crowding-out effect, (ii) which design performs better to promote participation. Except for a high monetary incentive where the respondent chooses himself the end-recipient, we show that monetary rewards directed either at the individual or at the cause actually harms intrinsic motivations, but not to the same extent.

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