Abstract

In an extensive national survey, 82.7% of the respondents report that they are very likely to keep an agreement to work hard if they agreed to, even if it was almost impossible for their employer to monitor them. Based on mean responses, the rank order of motivations in descending importance is: moral, intrinsic, peer-pressure, and positive incentives. Respondents also report that fairness considerations are important and that they are especially likely to keep agreements to do a good job with honest employers. Logit analysis indicates that increases in moral and intrinsic motivations increase the likelihood of keeping agreements to provide effort. The evidence suggests that we need to re-examine a foundational assumption underlying the theory of the firm.

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