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Awards unbundled: evidence from a natural field experiment

Ashraf, Nava, Lee, Scott and Bandiera, Oriana (2013) Awards unbundled: evidence from a natural field experiment. Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers (EOPP 046). Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, London, UK.

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Organizations often use awards to incentivize performance. We design a field experiment to unbundle the mechanisms through which awards may affect behavior: by facilitating social comparison and by conferring recognition and visibility. In a nationwide health worker training program in Zambia, employer recognition and social visibility increase performance while social comparison reduces it, especially for low-ability trainees. These effects appear when treatments are announced and persist through training. The findings are consistent with a model of optimal expectations in which low-ability individuals exert low effort in order to avoid information about their relative ability.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 08:09
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 22:22
Funders: International Growth Centre

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