The audit society and its enemies
Niklas Bengtsson, Per Engström 28 October 2014
Critics of the ‘audit society’ and the so-called ‘new public management’ doctrines have gained momentum in recent years. At the centre of the critique is the so-called motivation crowding-out hypothesis. This column presents evidence from a field experiment involving Swedish non-profits. Far from crowding out intrinsic motivation, the threat of an audit improved all aspects of efficiency.
In the second season of The Wire, thirteen dead women are discovered in a cargo container in Baltimore. Being a case with a low probability of being solved, the different managers of the police force immediately start arguing over which department is responsible for investigating the issue. The incentives are clear – whoever gets the case will have poor statistics to show when the management of the department is audited at the end of the year. The consequence is bribes, corruption, and a dysfunctional police force.
Frontiers of economic research
agency, motivation, motivation crowding-out, intrinsic motivation, incentives, performance-related pay, trust, audits, Sweden, non-profits, charity
Trust-based working time spurs innovation
Holger Görg, Olivier N. Godart, Aoife Hanley, Christiane Krieger-Boden 08 July 2014
Many firms are replacing traditional working hours with more flexible arrangements, reflecting new thinking on employee motivation. This column presents evidence from Germany that trust-based working time is associated with increased innovation. However, trust-based working hours also contribute to the blurring of workers’ professional and private lives, and may lead to excessive overtime. Careful design of trust-based working arrangements is required to reap the innovations gains while avoiding the health pitfalls.
The organisation of work has changed dramatically over the last few decades. In particular, the formerly rigidly regulated working time has been replaced by flexible working hour schemes in numerous firms around the world. Taking Germany as an example, in 2010, 36% of employees were entitled to some form of flexible working hours scheme (Figure 1).
Health economics Labour markets Productivity and Innovation
Germany, working hours, trust, health, innovation, motivation, overtime, flexibility, working time
Are workers motivated by the greater good? Evidence from a field experiment
Mirco Tonin, Michael Vlassopoulos 28 May 2010
What motivates workers in their job? This column presents evidence from a recent field experiment suggesting that women are motivated by concern about the social cause pursued by their employer, while men are not. This may provide new insight into the gender earnings gap.
What motivates workers? The canonical view in economics is that workers respond to monetary incentives. In line with this perspective, a large literature has been devoted to analysing how compensation contracts should be designed in order to induce workers to be more productive (Prendergast 1999).
gender gap, motivation, field experiment