Will One Size Fit All? Incentives Designed to Nurture Prosocial Behaviour

Lory Barile, John Cullis, Philip Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
234 Downloads (Pure)


Gneezy et al. (2011) review a literature that assesses the relevance of the form (monetary or non-monetary) of incentives employed to nurture prosocial behaviour. Here the objective is to assess the relevance of characteristics employed to describe individuals when comparing the efficacy of incentives designed to nurture prosocial behaviour. The impact of different incentives depends on the form they take and on the way they are received. This paper compares the impact of different incentives designed to increase pro-environmental behaviour (by increasing individuals' willingness to recycle household waste). Some individuals are more responsive to a nudge (that increases individuals' perceptions of the intrinsic value of action) than to a threat (that they will be punished if they refuse to comply). The relative efficacy of these incentives depends on the extent to which individuals are motivated by 'environmental morale'. When designing policy to increase prosocial behaviour, 'one size will not fit all'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Early online date24 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, [57, (2015)] DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2015.04.004

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


  • Crowding-in
  • Crowding-out
  • Environmental morale
  • Nudging
  • Recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Will One Size Fit All? Incentives Designed to Nurture Prosocial Behaviour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this