Motivational Effects of Feeling Trusted
with Diya Abraham
Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette / Belval
Black Box
11:00 am
12:15 pm
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I investigate whether feeling trusted or distrusted by a manager affects the motivation to work. In a laboratory experiment, responsibility for a manager’s earnings is divided unequally between two workers. I vary whether this responsibility allocation decision is made by the manager, or by a random device on the manager’s behalf. Importantly, being assigned more or less responsibility for the manager’s payoff does not change the workers’ wages. Despite this, I find that workers provide less effort when they are intentionally, as opposed to randomly, assigned a lower level of responsibility. This negative effect is mediated by the workers’ emotional response when learning that the manager chose to place her trust in the other worker. I find no positive effect of being trusted. My results demonstrate that managerial decisions do not need to have payoff consequences in order to affect workers’ motivation and effort choices.

More about the 3E DTU

The Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) 3E - Experiments, Ethics and Economics - consists of an interdisciplinary consortium of 9 social scientists who use scientific experiments involving human subjects in their research. The objective of the consortium is to create a formal link for collaboration across the three existing social science research laboratories in Luxembourg, with the aim to push forward the state-of-the-art of what we know about human behavior in economic interactions. The DTU 3E gathers members across 5 Luxembourgish research units:

(1) Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research LISER
(2) Institute for Health and Behavior IHB (Faculty of Humanities FLSHASE, University of Luxembourg UL)
(3) Institute of Cognitive Science and Assessment COSA (FLSHASE, UL)
(4) Luxembourg School of Finance LSF (Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance FDEF, UL)
(5) Luxembourg Centre of Logistics LCL (Economics Research Centre CREA, FDEF, UL)

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