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An Experimental Study on the Economics of Self-Confidence, Motivation, Gender and Incentives (Econ. of Motivation)
Start date: May 31, 2009, End date: May 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Inducing high effort and performance is an important goal in organizational economics as well as in education. With the recognition that imperfect self-knowledge is prevalent in such contexts, factors such as self-confidence and attitudes toward information have been increasingly incorporated into economic models of incentives in the recent years. This project proposes to study the link between self-confidence, motivation and institutions using experiments. Important self-selection decisions (e.g. type of occupation, career path) and effort decisions are fundamentally based on perceived ability. In addition, factors previously ignored in the incentive literature such as personality traits, gender, and biological factors can be instrumental in the way that individuals respond to incentives. This project proposes to conduct a set of laboratory experiments to analyze the dynamics of self-confidence and the motivation to exert effort under different institutional settings. In conjunction with the data on behavior, the study will also collect data on gender, educational background, risk-aversion, and personality traits, and will employ the recent methodology of neural measurements. Understanding the determinants of motivation, and studying its interactions with the institutional structure as well as factors such as gender are expected to generate important policy recommendations for the workplace as well as for educational settings.
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