Effort is Not a Monotonic Function of Skills: Results from a Global Mobile Experiment

36 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2019 Last revised: 22 May 2020

See all articles by Konrad Grabiszewski

Konrad Grabiszewski

Mohammad bin Salman College

Alex R. Horenstein

University of Miami - School of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 8, 2020

Abstract

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

Grabiszewski, Konrad and Horenstein, Alex R., Effort is Not a Monotonic Function of Skills: Results from a Global Mobile Experiment (May 8, 2020). University of Miami Business School Research Paper No. 3461946. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3461946 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3461946

Konrad Grabiszewski

Mohammad bin Salman College ( email )

KAEC
Saudi Arabia

Alex R. Horenstein (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 248126
Coral Gables, FL 33124-6550
United States

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