Gender differences in motivational crowding out of work performance

Volker Benndorf, Holger A. Rau, Christian Sölch, 2019,
Economic Inquiry, 57 (1), 206-226

This paper shows that prior financial incentives induce a crowding‐out effect when incentives are discontinued. In our real‐effort experiment workers receive a piece rate before monetary incentives are substituted by a one‐time payment. In this case, workers’ performance significantly drops when receiving the one‐time payment. The effect is driven by a fraction of men who reduce effort substantially, whereas women constantly perform well. We find that this motivational crowding‐out effect disappears when men do not have prior experience of a piece rate. In a series of control treatments, we discard several alternative explanations besides motivational crowding out.