Richard Dorsett, 21 November 2013

Individuals moving from long-term unemployment into work face a number of challenges. This column discusses the use of temporary in-work support during this transition. Recent experimental evidence has shown the potential for such support to have a positive long-term effect. It can increase not only employment entry but also employment retention, and so may provide a means of addressing the low pay, no pay cycle.

Imran Rasul, Daniel Rogger, 19 November 2013

Around the world, civil service reform is viewed as necessary to deliver public services effectively and to foster development. However, evidence is thin on how the management of bureaucrats affects the provision of public services. This column presents new evidence from Nigeria linking completion rates of government projects to bureaucractic management practices. Greater autonomy is associated with higher completion rates, whereas performance monitoring and incentive schemes seem to backfire. The most effective private-sector management practices may not be suited to public sector bureaucracies.

Joan Costa-i-Font, 12 April 2013

Are healthy lifestyles purely about people’s personal choices? Can we explain why specific people are fit, non-smokers and risk-averse? This column argues that policymaking can incentivise health behaviour but that monetary incentives are not the only approach. Academics and policymakers should aim to influence social norms and society’s role models when monetary incentives are not enough.

Simon Burgess, Carol Propper, Marisa Ratto, Emma Tominey, Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 06 September 2012

Do cash incentives matter in the public sector? This column looks at the use of incentive schemes, such as performance-related pay, in the British Labour government between 1997 and 2010. It finds that cash incentives do matter, but that their design is critical.

Oriana Bandiera, Kelsey Jack, Nava Ashraf, 13 March 2012

What motivates agents in the social sector? Recent theoretical advances indicate that financial incentives might crowd out intrinsic motivation and reduce performance. This column describes a field experiment where hairdressers in Zambia were motivated in different ways to sell condoms. It finds that social recognition can be a more powerful performance motivator than financial gains.

Victor Ginsburgh, 16 January 2012

Economists have shown that wine tasters can’t tell Bordeaux from budget plonk, movie critics are prone to giving biased reviews, and Olympic judges are often judging what’s best for them to say rather than what’s in front of them. This column asks why we should expect credit-rating agencies, with their own unique set of ignorance and incentives, to be any different.

Ian Tonks, 08 January 2012

Ever since the fall of Lehman Brothers, it has been a popular view – and one increasingly held by officials – that banker bonuses are at least partly to blame. This column compares executive pay in banks with other companies and finds, contrary to the growing consensus, that the financial sector differs not so much in its reward for taking risks, but in its reward for expansion.

Torben M Andersen, 27 September 2010

Springing from the debate over the Danish flexicurity system, the author of CEPR DP8025 outlines a model in which incentive effects of tax-financed unemployment benefits are balanced by direct and indirect insurance benefits. Such benefits may increase labour market flexibility by making job searches less risky for workers.

Alex Edmans, Xavier Gabaix, 24 June 2009

Many blame executive compensation for encouraging shortsighted risk-taking. This column argues that compensation should be structured so as to provide incentives consistent with the firm’s position and long-term interest. It proposes “incentive accounts” that it says would be superior to existing compensation schemes.

Jon Danielsson, Con Keating, 25 May 2009

Bank bonuses have been blamed for contributing to the crisis, and regulators and politicians are now demanding changes in compensation arrangements. Most of these calls are based on a misconception of the nature of financial risk, an inflated view of the efficacy of risk models, and an incorrect view of the incentive issues facing financial institutions. This column proposes reforms that would discipline senior managers by exposing them to the dangers of junior managers’ risk taking.

Andrea Prat, 09 March 2009

Financial regulation was flawed. However, there are signs that regulators could have done much more with the rules and information they had. Even the best rules are useless if regulators are not interested in enforcing them. This column says regulatory bodies should open their books and make their industry connections transparent so we can evaluate and reduce the risk of regulatory capture.

Edward Kane, 02 March 2009

CEPR Policy Insight No. 32 attributes the ongoing financial crisis to the economic and political difficulties of monitoring and controlling the production and distribution of safety-net subsidies.

Edward Kane, 03 March 2009

This column introduces Edward J. Kane’s new Policy Insight on the incentive roots of the securitisation crisis

Nicola Lacetera, Mario Macis, 04 November 2008

Episodes of blood supply shortage are the norm rather than the exception. “Pure” altruism is apparently not enough to guarantee a steady supply of blood, but economic incentives to donate might crowd-out intrinsic motivations. This column presents evidence that blood donors respond to material incentives and public recognition in the way predicted by standard economic theory. Rewarding them could increase blood supply.

Bruno S. Frey, Susanne Neckermann, 19 July 2008

Social recognition is a powerful force, and awards ranging from state orders to tournament prizes motivate people in fields ranging from from the arts to military service. Here is why economists should take note and study such incentives.

Patrick Legros, Estelle Cantillon, 18 October 2007

Mechanism design theory is a major breakthrough in the modern economic analysis of institutions and markets. It revolutionalised the way economists think about optimal institutions and regulation when governments don't “know it all.” It has had a major impact on current policy-making and will continue to do so in the future.

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  • 17 - 18 August 2019 / Peking University, Beijing / Chinese University of Hong Kong – Tsinghua University Joint Research Center for Chinese Economy, the Institute for Emerging Market Studies at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development at Stanford University, the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, BREAD, NBER and CEPR
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