Financial Rewards Do Not Stimulate Coproduction: Evidence from Two Experiments
William Voorberg, Sebastian Jilke, Lars Tummers, Victor Bekkers
PAR. Public Administration Review
Western governments are increasingly trying to stimulate citizens to coproduce public services by, among other strategies, offering them financial incentives. However, there are competing views on whether financial incentives stimulate coproduction. While some argue that financial incentives increase citizens ' willingness to coproduce, others suggest that incentives decrease their willingness (i.e., crowding out). To test these competing expectations, the authors designed a set of experiments
... hat offered subjects a financial incentive to assist municipalities in helping refugees integrate. The experiment was first conducted among university students within a laboratory setting. Then, the initial findings were replicated and extended among a general adult sample. Results suggest that small financial rewards have no effect: they neither increase nor decrease people ' s willingness to coproduce. When the offered amount is increased substantially, willingness to coproduce increases only marginally. Hence, financial incentives are not a very costefficient instrument to stimulate coproduction. Evidence for Practice • This research shows that modest compensation (2 euros per hour, similar to a time-bank voucher) does not have a significant effect on people ' s willingness to coproduce public services. Therefore, governments should be cautious in offering financial incentives to stimulate people to coproduce. • Even substantial financial incentives (10 euros per hour, comparable to the net income of a professional teacher) have only very small effects (6 percentage points) on people ' s willingness to coproduce. Therefore, governments are well advised to explore alternative possibilities for stimulating citizens ' willingness to coproduce. • This research indicates that people ' s motivation to coproduce is not crowded out by financial incentives. However, given the relatively small effect of financial incentives on people ' s willingness to coproduce, governments are advised to strengthen intrinsic public service and prosocial motivations (e.g., solidarity, charity, etc.) of potential coproducers instead of promoting coproduction by introducing financial incentives.