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Article
Why Work When You Can Shirk?: Worker Productivity in an Experimental Setting
WCOB Faculty Publications
  • Russell P. Engel, Sacred Heart University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
8-1-2010
Abstract

Employee shirking has the potential to be extremely costly to firms. To counter the productivity loss caused by shirking, firms may institute various incentive schemes. Previous experimental research has shown that while monitoring does decrease shirking, some subjects work without explicit financial incentives. This paper presents the experimental results of an economic experiment designed to investigate the effect of various incentive schemes on subject behavior. Subjects are allowed to engage two tasks; one task mimics work for an employer, the other task allows for gains due to shirking. We find that subjects who are given incentives to shirk do in fact shirk, but monitoring and an attainable quota lead to increased productivity. However, when the quota is unattainable, subjects revolt and engage in a high amount of shirking.

Citation Information
Engel, Russell. "Why Work When You Can Shirk?: Worker Productivity in an Experimental Setting." Journal of Applied Business and Economics 11.2 (2010): 104-119.