On the psychological motives of economic performance

Victor Gonzalez Jimenez

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This dissertation consists of four chapters in behavioral economics. Chapters 2 and 3 study the psychological effects of poverty and low social status, and their influence on individual attainment and economic performance. The main message of these chapters is that disadvantaged individuals in the society, may exhibit suboptimal economic performance due to the psychological component associated to their position in the society, rather than for their abilities or their material constraints.

Chapters 4 and 5, study incentive schemes that exploit behavioral biases to motivate the individual. The idea is to design cost-efficient contracts, whose novelty does not rely on the monetary incentives that they deliver, but on the usage of psychological regularities at the benefit of the employer. The contract studied in Chapter 4 features the formation of reference points through the elicitation of a production threshold. This contract takes advantage of the psychological loss that the individual feels from falling short of her target. The contract studied in Chapter 5, exploits the regularity that individuals overweight small probabilities, by implementing random performance evaluations. These incentives deliver higher economic outcomes, than standard pay-for-performance contracts.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • Noussair, Charles, Promotor
  • Dalton, Patricio, Co-promotor
Award date8 Dec 2017
Place of PublicationTilburg
Print ISBNs978 90 5668 541 6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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