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Title: Essays in Motivation
Authors: Smithers, Samuel Francis Terry
Supervisors: Dhami, Sanjit
Al-Nowaihi, Ali
Award date: 1-Jun-2016
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis consists of three self-contained papers developing the idea of goal setting, an intrinsic motivator, as an alternative motivator to monetary incentives. A non-binding goal is a specific, challenging target with which there are no monetary rewards or punishments associated with success or failure. Chapter 2 focuses on studying the basis of goal setting, developing an experiment to test the effectiveness that assigning non-binding goals have on effort on a real effort task. It shows that setting a goal has a significant impact upon effort and that it is the result of both an increase in speed and accuracy. Chapter 3 develops the first chapter further into a dynamic setting, focusing on comparing whether personalised goals are more effective than uniform goals. I find that personalised goals lead to a significantly higher number of attempts than a uniform goal level, however these extra attempts are not converted into statistically higher number of correct answers over the uniform goals group. Thus, if production is costly, a uniform goal level is more appropriate as a personalised goal would lead to higher average production costs. Chapter 4 examines the effect of setting both assigned and personal (self-set) non-binding goals on a real effort task. Developing a simple model with goal-dependent preferences, we derive a set of conjectures for our experiment. In line with previous studies, we find that goal setting leads to a higher average level of effort. However, we also find that previously assigned goals affect agents' goal commitment, affecting future performance. We also observe that those with only personal goals perform worse on average than a control group with no goals. This suggests that there may be a form of crowding-out of effort on the task when under personal goals versus no goals at all.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of Economics
Leicester Theses

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