Lanse Minkler
"Shirking and motivations in firms: survey evidence on worker attitudes"
JEL codes: D23, L22
Keywords: shirking, incentives, moral, intrinsic, fairness

Abstract: A framework on worker motivations is tested with an extensive U.S. survey.  82.7% of the respondents report that they are very likely to keep an agreement to work hard, even if it was almost impossible for their employer to monitor them.  Based on mean responses, the rank order of motivations is: moral, intrinsic, peer-pressure, and positive incentives.  Respondents also report that fairness considerations are important and that they are especially likely to keep agreements with honest employers.  Logit analysis indicates that increases in moral and intrinsic motivations increase the likelihood of keeping agreements to provide effort.  The evidence suggests that we might need to re-examine a foundational assumption underlying the theory of the firm.

Pre-publication pdf copy.