Motivating Knowledge Agents: Can Incentive Pay Overcome Social Distance?

Erlend Berg, Maitreesh Ghatak, R Manjula, D Rajasekhar, Sanchari Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This paper studies the interaction of incentive pay with intrinsic motivation and social distance. We analyse theoretically as well as empirically the effect of incentive pay when agents have pro-social objectives, but also preferences over dealing with one social group relative to another. In a randomised field experiment undertaken across 151 villages in South India, local agents were hired to spread information about a public health insurance programme. In the absence of incentive pay, social distance impedes the flow of information. Incentive pay increases overall agent
effort and appears to cancel the negative effects of social distance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110–142
Number of pages33
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number617
Early online date13 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Dec 2017

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics


  • Public service
  • Social Distance
  • Knowledge trasmission
  • information flow
  • Health insurance

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