Combining 'real effort' with induced effort costs: The ball-catching task

Gaechter, Simon (2017). Combining 'real effort' with induced effort costs: The ball-catching task. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-852809

This network project brings together economists, psychologists, computer and complexity scientists from three leading centres for behavioural social science at Nottingham, Warwick and UEA. This group will lead a research programme with two broad objectives: to develop and test cross-disciplinary models of human behaviour and behaviour change; to draw out their implications for the formulation and evaluation of public policy. Foundational research will focus on three inter-related themes: understanding individual behaviour and behaviour change; understanding social and interactive behaviour; rethinking the foundations of policy analysis. The project will explore implications of the basic science for policy via a series of applied projects connecting naturally with the three themes. These will include: the determinants of consumer credit behaviour; the formation of social values; strategies for evaluation of policies affecting health and safety. The research will integrate theoretical perspectives from multiple disciplines and utilise a wide range of complementary methodologies including: theoretical modeling of individuals, groups and complex systems; conceptual analysis; lab and field experiments; analysis of large data sets. The Network will promote high quality cross-disciplinary research and serve as a policy forum for understanding behaviour and behaviour change.

Data description (abstract)

We introduce the “ball-catching task”, a novel computerized task, which combines a tangible action (“catching balls”) with induced material cost of effort. The central feature of the ball-catching task is that it allows researchers to manipulate the cost of effort function as well as the production function, which permits quantitative predictions on effort provision. In an experiment with piece-rate incentives we find that the comparative static and the point predictions on effort provision are remarkably accurate. We also present experimental findings from three classic experiments, namely, team production, gift exchange and tournament, using the task. All of the results are closely in line with the stylized facts from experiments using purely induced values. We conclude that the ball-catching task combines the advantages of real effort tasks with the use of induced values, which is useful for theory-testing purposes as well as for applications.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Gaechter Simon University of Nottingham
Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Huang Lingbo University of Nottingham
Sefton Martin University of Nottingham
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/K002201/1
Topic classification: Economics
Keywords: Real effort task, Piece-rate theory, Team Incentives, Gift Exchange, Tournaments, Online real effort experiments
Project title: Network for Integrated Behavioural Science
Grant holders: Chris Starmer, Daniel John Zizzo, Nick Chater, Gordon Brown, Anders Poulsen, Martin Sefton, Neil Stewart, Uwe Aickelin, John Gathergood, Robert Sugden, Graham Loomes, Enrique Fatas, Simon Gaechter, Theodore Turocy, Shaun Hargreaves-Heap, Abigail Barr, Robert MacKay, Robin Cubitt, Daniel Read
Project dates:
31 December 201230 September 2017
Date published: 24 Nov 2017 17:02
Last modified: 24 Nov 2017 17:02

Available Files



Read me


data downloads and page views since this item was published

View more statistics


Edit item (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item