Mitigating the Adverse Effect of Monetary Incentives on Voluntary Contributions

Journal of Management Information Systems, 38(1), 82-107 (2021)

45 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2022

See all articles by Dandan Qiao

Dandan Qiao

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Shun-Yang Lee

Northeastern University - Marketing Area

Andrew B. Whinston

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management

Qiang Wei

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Date Written: September 26, 2020

Abstract

Numerous online information systems (e.g., question and answer (Q&A) forums, citizen science communities, and review websites) rely heavily on volunteer contributions. Managers have used monetary incentives to induce individuals to increase their contribution level. However, monetary incentives could also generate adverse effects, which could dampen individuals’ intrinsic motivation and lead to lower contribution quality when incentives are small. To address this issue, we propose two intervention strategies, goal-setting and challenge-seeking, and conduct a series of randomized experiments. We find that small monetary incentives, when combined with the appropriate intervention strategies, can motivate users to increase contribution quantity while simultaneously sustaining high quality. Thus, integrating such intervention strategies with small incentives can be a cost-effective way to encourage voluntary contributions. Our research contributes to the literature on incentive provision and provides theoretical and practical implications for platforms relying on voluntary contributions.

Keywords: volunteer, altruism, monetary incentives, goal-setting, challenge-seeking

Suggested Citation

Qiao, Dandan and Lee, Shun-Yang and Whinston, Andrew B. and Wei, Qiang, Mitigating the Adverse Effect of Monetary Incentives on Voluntary Contributions (September 26, 2020). Journal of Management Information Systems, 38(1), 82-107 (2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3954687

Dandan Qiao (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

13 computing drive
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

Shun-Yang Lee

Northeastern University - Marketing Area ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

Andrew B. Whinston

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management ( email )

CBA 5.202
Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-471-8879 (Phone)

Qiang Wei

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China
+86-10-62789824 (Phone)
+86-10-62771647 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sem.tsinghua.edu.cn/en/weiq

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