Montinari N., Nicolò A., Oexl R. (2016)

The gift of being chosen. Exp Econ 19, 460–479, 2016.

 

Abstract:

We report evidence from an experiment where an employer selects one of two workers to perform a task for a fixed compensation. Workers differ in their ability. The employer’s payoff depends on the worker’s ability and on a non-contractible effort that the worker exerts once employed. We find that selected workers exert an effort higher than the minimum enforceable one. When the employers can send a free-text form message to the selected worker, workers with low ability exert significantly higher effort than the workers with high ability. The difference in effort overcompensates the difference in ability.