Financial incentives and the "performance of crowds"

10 years 6 months ago
Financial incentives and the "performance of crowds"
The relationship between financial incentives and performance, long of interest to social scientists, has gained new relevance with the advent of web-based “crowd-sourcing” models of production. Here we investigate the effect of compensation on performance in the context of two experiments, conducted on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (AMT). We find that increased financial incentives increase the quantity, but not the quality, of work performed by participants, where the difference appears to be due to an “anchoring” effect: workers who were paid more also perceived the value of their work to be greater, and thus were no more motivated than workers paid less. In contrast with compensation levels, we find the details of the compensation scheme do matter—specifically, a “quota” system results in better work for less pay than an equivalent “piece rate” system. Although counterintuitive, these findings are consistent with previous laboratory studies, and may have real-world ...
Winter A. Mason, Duncan J. Watts
Added 20 May 2010
Updated 20 May 2010
Type Conference
Year 2009
Where KDD
Authors Winter A. Mason, Duncan J. Watts
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