CeDEx
Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics
   
   
  

CeDEx 2011-06: The Roles of Incentives and Voluntary Cooperation for Contractual Compliance

Abstract

Efficiency under contractual incompleteness often requires voluntary cooperation in situations where self-regarding incentives for contractual compliance are present as well. Here we provide a comprehensive experimental analysis based on the gift-exchange game of how explicit and implicit incentives affect cooperation. We first show that there is substantial cooperation under non-incentive compatible contracts. Incentive-compatible contracts induce best-reply effort and crowd out any voluntary cooperation. Further experiments show that this result is robust to two important variables: experiencing Trust contracts without any incentives and implicit incentives coming from repeated interaction. Implicit incentives have a strong positive effect on effort only under non-incentive compatible contracts.

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Authors

Simon Gächter, Esther Kessler and Manfred Königstein

 

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Posted on Wednesday 1st June 2011

Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

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