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Title:Incentives and Prosocial Behavior PDF Logo
Authors:Bénabou, Roland
Tirole, Jean
Issue Date:2004
Series/Report no.:Discussion papers in economics / Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs 230
Abstract:We build a theory of prosocial behavior that combines heterogeneity in individual altruism and greed with concerns for social reputation or self-respect. The presence of rewards or punishments creates doubt as to the true motive for which good deeds are performed, and this ?overjustification effect? can result in a net crowding out of prosocial behavior by extrinsic incentives. The model also allows us to identify settings that are conducive to multiple social norms of behavior, and those where disclosing one?s generosity may backfire. Finally, we analyze the equilibrium contracts offered by sponsors, including the level and confidentiality or publicity of incentives. Sponsor competition may cause rewards to bid down rather than up, and can even reduce social welfare by requiring agents to engage in inefficient sacrifices.
Subjects:altruism
rewards
motivation
overjustification effect
crowding out
identity
social norms.
JEL:D82
H41
D64
Z13
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:Discussion Papers in Economics, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (WWS), Princeton University

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