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American Economic Review: Vol. 92 No. 4 (September 2002)

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Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment

Article Citation

Nagin, Daniel S., James B. Rebitzer, Seth Sanders, and Lowell J. Taylor. 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment ." American Economic Review, 92(4): 850-873.

DOI: 10.1257/00028280260344498

Abstract

Economic models of incentives in employment relationships are based on a specific theory of motivation: employees are "rational cheaters," who anticipate the consequences of their actions and shirk when the marginal benefits exceed costs. We investigate the "rational cheater model" by observing how experimentally induced variation in monitoring of telephone call center employees influences opportunism. A significant fraction of employees behave as the "rational cheater model" predicts. A substantial proportion of employees, however, do not respond to manipulations in the monitoring rate. This heterogeneity is related to variation in employee assessments of their general treatment by the employer. (JEL D2, J2, L2, L8, M12)

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Authors

Nagin, Daniel S.
Rebitzer, James B.
Sanders, Seth
Taylor, Lowell J.


American Economic Review


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