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Age differences in the reaction to incentives – do older people avoid competition?

Sproten, Alec N. and Schwieren, Christiane

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Abstract

The “aging employee” has recently become a hot topic in many fields of behavioural research. With the aim to determine the effects of different incentive schemes (competition, social or increased monetary incentives) on performance of young and older subjects, we look at behaviour of a group of younger and older adults on a well-established real effort task. We show that older adults differ from younger adults in their performance in all conditions, but not in the improvement between conditions. The age difference in performance is however driven by women. While we replicate the gender difference in competitiveness found in the literature, we do not find a significant age difference in competitiveness. Social incentives have an at least as strong or even stronger effect on performance than increased monetary incentives. This effect is driven by men; women do not show an increase in performance with social incentives.

Item Type: Working paper
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2012 09:35
Date: 2012
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Economics and Social Studies > Alfred-Weber-Institut for Economics
Subjects: 330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords: aging , competition , social production functions , experiment , incentives
Schriftenreihe ID: Discussion Paper Series / University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics
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