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Motivating knowledge agents: can incentive pay overcome social distance?

Berg, Erlend, Ghatak, Maitreesh, Manjula, R, Rajasekhar, D and Roy, Sanchari (2019) Motivating knowledge agents: can incentive pay overcome social distance? The Economic Journal, 129 (617). pp. 110-142. ISSN 0013-0133

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Identification Number: 10.1111/ecoj.12544


This article studies the interaction of incentive pay with intrinsic motivation and social distance. We analyse theoretically as well as empirically the effect of incentive pay when agents have not only pro‐social objectives but also preferences over dealing with one social group relative to another. In a randomised field experiment undertaken across 151 villages in South India, local agents were hired to spread information about a public health insurance programme. In the absence of incentive pay, social distance impedes the flow of information. Incentive pay increases overall agent effort and appears to cancel the negative effects of social distance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Royal Economic Society
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 12:18
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:33
Funders: Improving Institutions for Pro‐Poor Growth (iiG), DFID, International Growth Centre

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