Measuring Costly Effort Using the Slider Task

25 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2018

See all articles by David Gill

David Gill

Purdue University, Department of Economics

Victoria L. Prowse

Purdue University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Abstract

Using real effort to implement costly activities increases the likelihood that the motivations that drive effort provision in real life carry over to the laboratory. However, unobserved differences between subjects in the cost of real effort make quantitative prediction problematic. In this paper we present the slider task, which was designed by us to overcome the drawbacks of real effort tasks. The slider task allows the researcher to collect precise and repeated observations of effort provision from the same subjects in a short time frame.The resulting high-quality panel data allow sophisticated statistical analysis. We illustrate these advantages in two ways. First, we show how to use panel data from the slider task to improve precision by controlling for persistent unobserved heterogeneity. Second, we show how to estimate effort costs at the subject level by exploiting within-subject variation in incentives across repetitions of the slider task. We also provide z-Tree code and practical guidance to help researchers implement the slider task.

Keywords: experimental methodology, real effort, effort provision, cost of effort, slider task, design of laboratory experiments, unobserved heterogeneity

JEL Classification: C91, C13

Suggested Citation

Gill, David and Prowse, Victoria L., Measuring Costly Effort Using the Slider Task. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11411, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3153375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3153375

David Gill (Contact Author)

Purdue University, Department of Economics ( email )

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

Victoria L. Prowse

Purdue University - Department of Economics ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

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