Evaluations: Hidden Costs, Questionable Benefits, and Superior Alternatives

University of Zurich IEW Working Paper No. 302

30 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2006

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Margit Osterloh

University of Basel; Professor (em.) University of Zurich

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

Research evaluation is praised as the symbol of modern quality management. We claim firstly, performance evaluations in research have higher costs than normally assumed, because the evaluated persons and institutions systematically change their behavior and develop counter strategies. Moreover, intrinsic work motivation is crowded out and undesired lock-in effects take place. Secondly, the benefits of performance evaluations are questionable. Evaluations provide too little information relevant for decision-making. In addition, they lose importance due to new forms of scientific cooperation on the internet. Thirdly, there exist superior alternatives. They consist in careful selection and supportive process coaching - and then leave individuals and research institutions to direct themselves.

Keywords: Evaluation, rankings, hidden costs, multi taskng, intrinsic motivation, control

JEL Classification: C44, D02, D61, D72, H52, I23, M12

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Osterloh, Margit, Evaluations: Hidden Costs, Questionable Benefits, and Superior Alternatives (October 2006). University of Zurich IEW Working Paper No. 302. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=928354 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.928354

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Switzerland
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002
Switzerland

Margit Osterloh

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003
Switzerland

Professor (em.) University of Zurich ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zürich, CH-8008
Switzerland

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