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The experiment presented in this video explores the interaction of reward schemes and production functions on team effort. SEBASTIAN J. GOERG explains that unequal rewards seem to yield higher efficiency for complementary production functions (i.e., if each worker’s effort counts); but that symmetric reward schemes induce higher efforts if workers’ efforts are substitutes. He concludes that inequality may have a positive effect on efficiency and that both production function and reward scheme are potent tools to raise average effort.


Sebastian J. Goerg is Assistant Professor in Economics at Florida State University. Between 2009 and 2012, Goerg was Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, in Bonn (Germany).

In his research Goerg focuses on the economics of rewards, incentives and (legal) institutions, and how they affect human behaviour. In the field of production effort, Goerg sees a potential in unequal reward systems.


Florida State University

"Florida State University preserves, expands, and disseminates knowledge in the sciences, technology, arts, humanities, and professions, while embracing a philosophy of learning strongly rooted in the traditions of the liberal arts. The university is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, creative endeavors, and service. The university strives to instill the strength, skill, and character essential for lifelong learning, personal responsibility, and sustained achievement within a community that fosters free inquiry and embraces diversity." ( Source )
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Original publication

Treating Equals Unequally: Incentives in Teams, Workers’ Motivation, and Production Technology

Kube Sebastian, Goerg Sebastian J. and Zultan Ro’i
Journal of Labor Economics
Published in 2010

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