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Motivation Crowding Theory: A Survey of Empirical Evidence

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; Zeppelin University

Reto Jegen

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

January 2000

Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 26; CESifo Working Paper Series No. 245

The motivation crowding effect suggests that an external intervention via monetary incentives or punishments may undermine (and under different indentifiable conditions strengthen) intrinsic motivation. As of today, the theoretical possibility of crowding effects is widely accepted among economists. Many of them, however, have been critical about its empirical relevance. This survey shows that such scepticism is unwarranted and that there exists indeed compelling empirical evidence for the existence of crowding out and crowding in. It is based on circumstantial insight, laboratory studies by both psychologists and economists as well as field research by econometric studies. The presented pieces of evidence refer to a wide variety of areas of the economy and society and have been collected for many different countries and periods. Crowding effects thus are an empirically relevant phenomenon, which can, in specific cases, even dominate the traditional relative price effect.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: Crowding Effect, Intrinsic Motivation, Principal-Agent Theory, Economic Psychology, Experiments

JEL Classification: A12, J33, L22

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Date posted: April 30, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Jegen, Reto, Motivation Crowding Theory: A Survey of Empirical Evidence (January 2000). Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 26; CESifo Working Paper Series No. 245. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=203330

Contact Information

Bruno S. Frey
CREMA ( email )
Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Zeppelin University ( email )
Am Seemooser Horn 20
Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance 88045
Reto Jegen (Contact Author)
University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )
Zuerich, 8006
+41 1 63 43795 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN

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