The spillover effects of monitoring: A field experiment

Michele Belot, Marina Schröder

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


We provide …field experimental evidence of the effects of monitoring in
a context where productivity is multi-dimensional and only one dimension
is monitored and incentivised. We hire students to do a job for us. The
job consists of identifying euro coins. We study the effects of monitoring
and penalising mistakes on work quality, and evaluate spillovers on non-
incentivised dimensions of productivity (punctuality and theft). We …find
that monitoring improves work quality only if incentives are large, but
reduces punctuality substantially irrespectively of the size of incentives.
Monitoring does not affect theft, with ten per cent of participants stealing
overall. Our setting also allows us to disentangle between possible theoretical mechanisms driving the adverse effects of monitoring. Our …fiindings
are supportive of a reciprocity mechanism, whereby workers retaliate for
being distrusted.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh School of Economics Discussion Paper Series
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2013

Publication series

NameESE Discussion Papers


  • counterproductive behaviour
  • monitoring
  • experiment
  • C93
  • J24
  • J30
  • M42
  • M52


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