Awards at Work

32 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2010

See all articles by Susanne Neckermann

Susanne Neckermann

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Reto Cueni

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

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Date Written: June 24, 2010


Awards - widespread in the corporate sector and elsewhere - are motivators that derive their value from non-pecuniary concerns such as status and self-image. Quasi-experimental panel data from the call center of a large international bank allow us to estimate the causal impact on effort when receiving an award. The performance of winners proves to be significantly higher than that of comparable nonrecipients after the award has been presented. This increase in work effort is sizeable and robust. We investigate the various theories that could explain the change in behavior. We find that image concerns most likely drive the effect.

Keywords: Awards, Motivation, Non-monetary Compensation, Insider Econometrics

JEL Classification: C23, J33, M52

Suggested Citation

Neckermann, Susanne and Cueni, Reto and Frey, Bruno S., Awards at Work (June 24, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Susanne Neckermann (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006

Reto Cueni

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Hottingerstrasse 10
Zuerich, 8032


Bruno S. Frey

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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