The Effect of Incentive Framing on Working Harder: Doing More Than We Predict

Kelly Goldsmith, Yale University
Ravi Dhar, Yale University
This paper tests the effectiveness of extrinsic motivation (e.g., monetary incentives) at promoting effort on challenging tasks depending on whether the incentive is framed as a gain or a loss from a reference point. In a series of studies we find that loss-framed incentives motivate people significantly more than a gain-framed incentives. Further, we show that people incorrectly predict that the gain framed incentive would be more motivating. We identify a belief in the positive correlation between task enjoyment and motivation contributes to the disparity between prediction and experience.
[ to cite ]:
Kelly Goldsmith and Ravi Dhar (2008) ,"The Effect of Incentive Framing on Working Harder: Doing More Than We Predict", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 169-172.