Incentives to Persevere
33 Pages Posted: 6 May 2022
Date Written: May 4, 2022
Achieving success often requires persistent effort. We study the effectiveness of two reward mechanisms, all-or-nothing and piece-rate, to incentivize full completion of repeated tasks over time. Our theoretical analysis shows that exogenously imposing the all-or-nothing mechanism can be ineffective due to the potential discouragement effect. In contrast, empowering individuals to choose between the two reward mechanisms can significantly improve the full completion rate. Data from a series of field experiments and follow up replications provide robust evidence that the all-or-nothing mechanism is effective only when it is presented as an option. Our results highlight the importance of choice in incentivizing persistent effort.
Keywords: perseverance; incentives; self-control; field experiments
JEL Classification: C93, D91, D82, I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation