Awards at Work

35 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2012

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2012


Social incentives like employee awards are widespread in the corporate sector and may be important instruments for solving agency problems. To date, we have little understanding of their effect on behavior. Unique panel data from the call center of a Fortune 500 financial services provider allow us to estimate the impact of awards on performance. Winning an award for voluntary work behaviors significantly increases subsequent core call center performance. The effect is short-lived, mainly driven by underperforming agents, and is reflected mostly in dimensions of the job that are hard to observe. We discuss various theories that could explain 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 (February 2012). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 12-004, 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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