Seminar  |  10/28/2015 | 12:00 PM  –  01:30 PM

Brown Bag Seminar: Quantity, Usability, and Novelty: The Effects of Incentives on Creativity

Marina Schröder (University of Cologne)

We study the effect of incentives on different dimensions of creative work. To do so, we introduce a novel real-effort task that allows us to measure quantity, usability, and novelty of individuals’ creative output. In three treatments, we introduce incentives either for quantity alone or for quantity in combination with usability or novelty. We compare performance in these treatments to a baseline with fixed incentives. We find that incentivizing quantity alone or quantity in combination with novelty results in an increase in quantity and novelty and a decrease in the average quality compared to the baseline. Combined incentives for quality and quantity do not have a significant effect on any of the dimensions of creativity. Our findings are in line with a multi-tasking model where agents choose an optimal allocation of effort between quantity and usability and novelty is negatively correlated to quality. (Authors: Katharina Laske/Marina Schröder)