Effort is Not a Monotonic Function of Skills: Results from a Global Mobile Experiment
36 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2019 Last revised: 25 Sep 2020
Date Written: May 8, 2020
At the core of economic theory is the monotonicity hypothesis: an agent’s eﬀort, as a function of their skills, is either non-decreasing or non-increasing, but not both. To test this hypothesis, we use data from Blues and Reds, a mobile app designed to conduct economic experiments that consists of a series of interactive puzzles. The sample includes 6,463 subjects from 141 countries. We measure subjects’ skills and eﬀort levels using their response times. We replicate the same test 22 times. Surprisingly, each time we ﬁnd that the optimal eﬀort is not a monotonic function of skills but rather has a U-shape contradicting the monotonicity hypothesis.
Keywords: monotonicity of choice, effort, skills, experimental game theory, mobile experiment
JEL Classification: D01, C72, C80, C90
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation