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Title: Unselfish incentive schemes : a tool to influence peoples' preferences in adoption and diffusion processes
Author: Carpio, Juan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 0588
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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It is in the interest of many different types of organisations to encourage the adoption of specific products or desirable behaviours. Such goal has been commonly pursued by offering economic incentives to people with the aim of making the desired action more appealing. This type of strategy is based on standard economic theory, which assumes that people behave in ways that maximise only their own economic benefits. However, behavioural scientists have suggested that people frequently make decisions that go against their own benefit and are affected by emotions, biases and social preferences, all of which may lead to the failure of traditional economic incentives. In the present work, prosocial motives are incorporated into the design of incentive schemes by allowing participants to give away part of their rewards to relevant peers. We tested whether such strategy can outperform the traditional “selfish schemes”. Specifically, four experiments using hypothetical scenarios were performed, in which participants’ preferences were elicited by implementing different methodologies. The main variables considered in this research are the number of recipients and the expectations about their reactions, the possibilities of reciprocity, the certainty of the reward, the size and framing of the reward, and the fear of negative evaluations. The results show a substantial proportion of the participants favouring the “unselfish” incentive schemes. Moreover, the expectations about recipients’ reactions were particularly relevant in defining the effectiveness of programmes that incorporate prosocial motives. Findings also suggest that fulfilling others’ expectations allows people to strengthen their self-concept and maintain a positive self-image. This research brings a new perspective in the study of adoption and diffusion processes by incorporating insights and methods from behavioural science, and it considers the role of contextual factors in decision-making processes that have been neglected in the literature. These results can also contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms driving prosocial behaviours and inform the design of initiatives that aim to encourage desirable actions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Design Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor