Applied economics - The use of monetary incentives to modulate behavior

S. Strang*, S. Q. Park, T. Strombach, P. Kenning

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


According to standard economic theory higher monetary incentives will lead to higher performance and higher effort independent of task, context, or individual. In many contexts this standard economic advice is implemented. Monetary incentives are, for example, used to enhance performance at workplace or to increase health-related behavior. However, the fundamental positive impact of monetary incentives has been questioned by psychologists as well as behavioral economists during the last decade, arguing that monetary incentives can sometimes even backfire. In this chapter, studies from proponents as well as opponents of monetary incentives will be presented. Specifically, the impact of monetary incentives on performance, prosocial, and health behavior will be discussed. Furthermore, variables determining whether incentives have a positive or negative impact will be identified.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProgress in Brain Research
Pages (from-to)285-301
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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