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Individual Creativity, Ex-ante Goals and Financial Incentives

  • Author(s): Charness, Gary
  • Grieco, Daniela
  • et al.
Abstract

Creativity is a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon that has hardly been considered byeconomists, despite a great deal of economic importance. This paper presents a series ofexperiments where subjects face creativity tasks where, in one case, ex-ante goals and constraintsare imposed on their answers, and in the other case no restrictions apply. The effects of financialincentives in stimulating creativity in both types of tasks is then tested, together with the impactof personal features like risk and ambiguity aversion. Our findings show that, in general,financial incentives affect “in-box” (constrained) creativity, but do not facilitate “blue sky”(unconstrained) creativity. However, in the latter case incentives do play a role for ambiguityaverseagents, who tend to be significantly less creative and seem to need extrinsic motivation toexert effort in a task whose odds of success they don’t know. We do find that measures ofcreative style, sensation-seeking preferences, and past involvement in artistic endeavors arerelated to our creativity score, but do not find any difference across gender for either form ofcreativity.

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