Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-bqjwj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-04T05:27:51.729Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Motivational Crowding in Sustainable Development Interventions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2015

University of Michigan
Indian School of Business
University of Michigan
Arun Agrawal is Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1041, 734-647-5948 (phone) (
Ashwini Chhatre is Senior Research Fellow, Indian School of Business, Visiting Professor, Economics and Public Policy, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, +91 40 2318 7134 (phone) (
Elisabeth R. Gerber (corresponding author) is Jack L. Walker, Jr. Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-647-4004 (phone) (


We used a quasi-experimental research design to study the extent of motivational crowding in a recent sustainable development intervention in northern India. The project provided participants with both private and communal material benefits to enhance their incomes, and environmental and social information to inculcate pro-environmental motivations. We compared changes in reported motivations of participants for conserving forest resources, before and after project implementation, with changes in reported motivations of matched nonparticipants. We found that villagers who received private economic benefits were more likely to change from an environmental to an economic motivation for forest protection, whereas those who engaged in communal activities related to the project were less likely to change from an environmental to an economic motivation. These results, which indicate a substantial but conditional degree of motivational crowding, clarify the relationships between institutional change, incentives, and motivations and have important implications for the design of sustainable development interventions.

Research Article
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Abadie, Alberto, Drukker, David, Herr, Jane Leber, and Imbens, Guido W.. 2004. “Implementing Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects in Stata.” Stata Journal 4 (3): 290311.Google Scholar
Adams, William M., Aveling, Ros, Brockington, Dan, Dickson, Barney, Elliott, Jo, Hutton, Jon, Roe, Dilys, Vira, Bhaskar, and Wolmer, William. 2004. “Biodiversity Conservation and the Eradication of Poverty.” Science 306 (5699): 1146–49.Google Scholar
Agarwal, Bina. 2000. “Conceptualising Environmental Collective Action: Why Gender Matters.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 24 (3): 283310.Google Scholar
Agrawal, Arun. 2005. Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
Ajayi, Oluyede C., Jack, B. Kelsey, and Leimona, Beria. 2012. “Auction Design for the Private Provision of Public Goods in Developing Countries: Lessons from Payments for Environmental Services in Malawi and Indonesia.” World Development 40 (6): 1213–23.Google Scholar
Ajzen, Icek. 2001. “Nature and Operations of Attitudes.” Annual Review of Psychology 52: 2758.Google Scholar
Allendorf, Teri D. 2007. “Residents’ Attitudes toward Three Protected Areas in Southwestern Nepal.” Biodiversity and Conservation, 16 (7): 20872102.Google Scholar
Angrist, Joshua, and Lavy, Victor. 2009. “The Effects of High Stakes High School Achievement Awards: Evidence from a Randomized Trial.” American Economic Review 99 (4): 13841414.Google Scholar
Ariely, Dan, Bracha, Anat, and Meier, Stephan. 2009. “Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially.” American Economic Review 99 (1): 544–55.Google Scholar
Ariely, Dan, Gneezy, Uri, Loewenstein, George, and Mazar, Nina. 2009. “Large Stakes and Big Mistakes.” Review of Economic Studies 76 (2): 451–69.Google Scholar
Benabou, Roland, and Tirole, Jean. 2003. “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation.” Review of Economic Studies 70 (3): 489520.Google Scholar
Benabou, Roland, and Tirole, Jean. 2006. “Incentives and Prosocial Behavior.” American Economic Review 96 (5): 1652–78.Google Scholar
Bénabou, Roland, and Tirole, Jean. 2011. “Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 126 (2): 805–55.Google Scholar
Benoit, Kenneth. 2004. “Models of Electoral Systems Change.” Electoral Studies 23: 363–89.Google Scholar
Bohnet, Iris and Baytelman, Yale. 2007. “Institutions and Trust: Implications for Preferences, Beliefs, and Behavior.” Rationality and Society 19 (1): 99135.Google Scholar
Bohnet, Iris, Frey, Bruno S., and Huck, Steffan. 2001. “More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding.” American Political Science Review 95 (1): 131–44.Google Scholar
Bouton, Shannon N., and Frederick, Peter C.. 2003. “Stakeholders’ Perceptions of a Wading Bird Colony as a Community Resource in the Brazilian Pantanal.” Conservation Biology 17 (1): 297306.Google Scholar
Bowler, Shaun, Donovan, Todd, and Karp, Jeffrey A.. 2007. “Enraged or Engaged? Preferences for Direct Citizen Participation in Affluent Democracies.” Political Research Quarterly 60 (3): 351–62.Google Scholar
Bowles, Samuel. 1998. “Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions.” Social Cognition 25 (5): 573–81.Google Scholar
Bowles, Samuel. 2008. “Policies Designed for Self-interested Citizens May Undermine the Moral Sentiments: Evidence from Economic Experiments.” Science 320 (5883): 1605–09.Google Scholar
Bowles, Samuel, and Hwang, Sung-Ha. 2008. “Social Preferences and Public Economics: Mechanism Design When Social Preferences Depend on Incentives.” Journal of Public Economics 92: 1811–20.Google Scholar
Bowles, Samuel, and Polania-Reyes, Sandra. 2012. “Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?Journal of Economic Literature 50 (2): 368425.Google Scholar
Brehm, John, and Rahn, Wendy. 1997. “Individual-level Evidence for the Causes and Consequences of Social Capital.” American Journal of Political Science 41: 9991023.Google Scholar
Cardenas, Juan Camillo. 2011. “Social Norms and Behavior in the Local Commons as Seen through the Lens of Field Experiments.” Environmental and Resource Economics 48: 451–85.Google Scholar
Chang, Juin-jen, and Lai, Ching-chong. 1999. “Carrots or Sticks? A Social Custom Viewpoint on Worker Effort.” European Journal of Political Economy 15 (2): 297310.Google Scholar
Cho, Wendy K. Tam, Gimple, James G., and Dyck, Joshua J.. 2006. “Residential Concentration, Political Socialization, and Voter Turnout.” Journal of Politics 68 (1): 156–67.Google Scholar
Churchland, Patricia S., and Sejnowski, Terrance J.. 1992. The Computational Brain. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Cox, Michael, Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio, and Hartberg, Yasha. 2014. “The Role of Religion in Community-based Natural Resource Management.” World Development 54: 4655.Google Scholar
Dalton, Russell J., Burklin, Wilhelm, and Drummond, Andrew. 2001. “Public Opinion and Direct Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 12: 141–53.Google Scholar
Dana, Jason, Weber, Roberto A., and Kuang, Jason Xi. 2007. “Exploiting Moral Wiggle Room: Experiments Demonstrating an Illusory Preference for Fairness.” Economic Theory 33 (1): 6780.Google Scholar
deCharms, Richard. 1968. Personal Causation: The Affective Determinants of Behavior. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Deci, Edward. L. 1972. “The Effects of Contingent and Non-contingent Rewards and Controls on Intrinsic Motivation.” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 8 (2): 217–29.Google Scholar
Deci, Edward. L., Connell, J. P., and Ryan, Richard M.. 1989. “Self-determination in a Work Organization.” Journal of Applied Psychology 74 (4): 580.Google Scholar
Deci, Edward L., Koestner, Richard, and Ryan, Richard M.. 1999. “A Meta-analytic Review of Experiments Examining the Effects of Extrinsic Rewards on Intrinsic Motivation.” Psychological Bulletin 125 (6): 627–68.Google Scholar
Dolisca, Frito, McDaniel, Josh M., and Teeter, Lawrence D.. 2007. “Farmers’ Perceptions towards Forests: A Case Study from Haiti.” Forest Policy and Economics 9 (6), 704–12.Google Scholar
Donovan, Todd and Karp, Jeffrey A.. 2006. “Popular Support for Direct Democracy.” Party Politics 12 (5): 671–88.Google Scholar
Donovan, Todd, Tolbert, Caroline J., and Smith, Daniel A.. 2009. “Political Engagement, Mobilization, and Direct Democracy.” Public Opinion Quarterly 73 (1): 98118.Google Scholar
Druckman, James N., and Lupia, Arthur. 2000. “Preference Formation.” Annual Review of Political Science 3:124.Google Scholar
Dyck, Joshua J., and Baldassare, Mark. 2009. “Process Preferences and Voting in Direct Democracy Elections.” Public Opinion Quarterly 73 (3): 551–65.Google Scholar
Elster, Jon. 1989. “Social Norms and Economic Theory.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 3 (4): 99117.Google Scholar
Festré, Agnès. 2010. “Incentives and Social Norms: A Motivation-based Economic Analysis of Social Norms.” Journal of Economic Surveys 24 (3): 511–38.Google Scholar
Fiallo, Elba A. and Jacobson, Susan K.. 1995. “Local Communities and Protected Areas: Attitudes of Rural Residents towards Conservation and Machalilla National Park, Ecuador.” Environmental Conservation 22 (3): 241–49.Google Scholar
Frable, Deborrah E. S. 1997. “Gender, Racial, Ethnic, Sexual, and Class Identities.” Annual Review of Psychology 48: 139–62.Google Scholar
Frey, Bruno S. 1997. “On the Relationship between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Work Motivation.” International Journal of Industrial Organization 15 (4): 427–39.Google Scholar
Frey, Bruno S., Benz, Matthias, and Stutzer, Alois. 2004. “Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters.” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics JITE 160 (3): 377401.Google Scholar
Frey, Bruno S., and Jegen, Reto. 2001. “Motivation Crowding Theory.” Journal of Economic Surveys 15 (5): 589611.Google Scholar
Frey, Bruno S., and Felix Oberholzer-Gee, F. 1997. “The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-out.” American Economic Review 87 (4): 746–55.Google Scholar
Gawronski, Bertram. 2007. “Attitudes Can Be Measured! But What Is an Attitude?Social Cognition 25 (5): 573–81.Google Scholar
Gerber, Elisabeth R., and Jackson, John E.. 1993. “Endogenous Preferences and the Study of Institutions.” American Political Science Review 87 (3): 639–56.Google Scholar
Gillingham, Sarah, and Lee, Phyllis C.. 1999. “The Impact of Wildlife-related Benefits on the Conservation Attitudes of Local People around the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania.” Environmental Conservation 26 (3): 218–28.Google Scholar
Gneezy, Uri, Meier, Stephan, and Rey-Biel, Pedro. 2011. “When and Why Incentives (Don’t) Work to Modify Behavior.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 25 (4): 191210.Google Scholar
Gneezy, Uri, and Rustichini, Aldo. 2000. “Pay Enough or Don't Pay at All.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 115 (3): 791810.Google Scholar
Govier, Trudy, and Verwoerd, Wilhelm. 2002. “Trust and the Problem of National Reconciliation.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (2): 178205.Google Scholar
Guthrie, John T. 2000. “Engagement and Motivation in Reading.” In Handbook of Reading Research: Volume III, 403422. eds. Kamil, M. L., Mosenthal, P. B., Pearson, P. D., and Barr, R.. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Hackman, J. Richard, Pearce, Jone L., and Wolfe, Jane Carminis. 1978. “Effects of Changes in Job Characteristics on Work Attitudes and Behaviors: A Naturally Occurring Quasi-experiment.” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 21 (3): 289304.Google Scholar
Harsanyi, John C. 1969. “Rational Choice Models of Political Behavior vs. Functionalist and Conformist Theories.” World Politics 21: 513–38.Google Scholar
Hibbing, John, and Thiess-Morse, Elizabeth. 2002. Stealth Democracy: Americans’ Beliefs about How Government Should Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Holmes, Christopher M. 2003. “The Influence of Protected Area Outreach on Conservation Attitudes and Resource Use Patterns: A Case Study from Western Tanzania.” Oryx 37 (3): 305–15.Google Scholar
Howard, Judith A. 2000. “Social Psychology of Identities.” Annual Review of Sociology 26: 367–93.Google Scholar
Huckfeldt, Robert, and Sprague, John. 1995. Citizens, Politics and Social Communication. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Iacus, Stefano M., King, Gary, and Porro, Giuseppe. 2009. “CEM: Coarsened Exact Matching Software.” Journal of Statistical Software 30 (9), Scholar
Iacus, Stefano M., King, Gary, and Porro, Giuseppe. 2012. “Causal Inference without Balance Checking: Coarsened Exact Matching.” Political Analysis 20 (1): 124.Google Scholar
Inglehart, Ronald. 1990. Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Jacobs, Alan M. 2009. “How Do Ideas Matter? Mental Models and Attention in German Pension Politics.” Comparative Political Studies 42 (2): 252–79.Google Scholar
Jackson, Cecile. 1993. “Doing What Comes Naturally? Women and Environment in Development.” World Development 21 (12): 1947–63.Google Scholar
James, Harvey S. Jr. 2005. “Why Did You Do That? An Economic Examination of the Effect of Extrinsic Compensation on Intrinsic Motivation and Performance.” Journal of Economic Psychology 26 (4): 549–66.Google Scholar
Johansson-Stenman, Olaf, and Martinsson, Peter. 2006. “Honestly, Why Are You Driving a BMW?Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 60 (2): 129–46.Google Scholar
Kaiser, Florian G., Wolfing, Sybille, and Fuhrer, Urs. 1999. “Environmental Attitude and Ecological Behaviour.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 19 (1): 119.Google Scholar
Kleinginna, Paul R. Jr, and Kleinginna, Anne M.. 1981. “A Categorized List of Motivation Definitions, with a Suggestion for a Consensual Definition.” Motivation and Emotion 5 (3): 263–91.Google Scholar
Lepper, Mark R., Greene, David, and Nisbett, Richard E.. 1973. “Undermining Children's Intrinsic Interest with Extrinsic Reward: A Test of the ‘Overjustification’ Hypothesis.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 28 (1): 129–37.Google Scholar
Lindenberg, Siegwart. 2001. “Intrinsic Motivation in a New Light.” Kyklos 54 (2–3): 317–42.Google Scholar
Lopez, Maria Claudia, Murphy, James J., Spraggon, John M., and Stranlund, John K.. 2012. “Comparing the Effectiveness of Regulation and Prosocial Emotions to Enhance Cooperation: Experimental Evidence from Fishing Communities in Colombia.” Economic Inquiry 50 (1): 131–42.Google Scholar
MacKinnon, Neil J., and Luke, Alison. 2002. “Changes in Identity Attitudes as Reflections of Social and Cultural Change.” Canadian Journal of Sociology 27 (3): 299338.Google Scholar
Mazar, Nina, Amir, On, and Ariely, Dan. 2008. “The Dishonesty of Honest People: A Theory of Self-concept Maintenance.” Journal of Marketing Research 45: 633–34.Google Scholar
Mehta, Jai N., and Heinen, Joel T.. 2001. “Does Community-based Conservation Shape Favorable Attitudes among Locals? An Empirical Study from Nepal.” Environmental Management 28 (2): 165–77.Google Scholar
Mellström, Carl, and Johannesson, Magnus. 2008. “Crowding out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?Journal of the European Economic Association 6 (4): 845–63.Google Scholar
Monroe, Kristen Renwick, Hankin, James, and Van Vechten, Renee Bukovchik. 2000. “The Psychological Foundations of Identity Politics.” Annual Review of Political Science 3: 419–47.Google Scholar
Ostrom, Elinor. 2000. “Crowding out Citizenship.” Scandinavian Political Studies 23 (1): 316.Google Scholar
Pattanayak, Subhrendu K., Wunder, Sven, and Ferraro, Paul J.. 2010. “Show Me the Money: Do Payments Supply Environmental Services in Developing Countries?Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 4 (2): 254–74.Google Scholar
Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, and Santos, Jesus J.. 2004. “A Theory of Markets, Institutions, and Endogenous Preferences.” Journal of Public Economics 88 (3–4): 601–27.Google Scholar
Persson, U. Martin, and Alpizar, Francisco. 2013. “Conditional Cash Transfers and Payments for Environmental Services: A Conceptual Framework for Explaining and Judging Differences in Outcomes.” World Development 43: 124–37.Google Scholar
Pierson, Paul. 1993. “When Effect Becomes Cause: Policy Feedback and Political Change.” World Politics 45 (4): 595628.Google Scholar
Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
Reeson, Andrew F., and Tisdell, John G.. 2008. “Institutions, Motivations and Public Goods: An Experimental Test of Motivational Crowding.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 68 (1): 273–81.Google Scholar
Rothstein, Bo, and Uslaner, Eric M.. 2005. “All for One: Equality, Corruption, and Social Trust.” World Politics 58 (1): 4172.Google Scholar
Sauermann, Jan, and Kaiser, Andre. 2010. “Taking Others into Account: Self-Interest and Fairness in Majority Decision Making.” American Journal of Political Science 54 (3): 667–85.Google Scholar
Sekhon, Jasjeet. 2010. “Opiates for the Matches: Matching Methods for Causal Inference.” Annual Review of Political Science 12: 487508.Google Scholar
Sinclair, Betsy. 2012. The Social Citizen: Peer Networks and Political Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Spiteri, Arian, and Nepalz, Sanjay K.. 2006. “Incentive-based Conservation Programs in Developing Countries: A Review of Some Key Issues and Suggestions for Improvements.” Environmental Management 37 (1): 114.Google Scholar
Steg, Linda, Dreijerink, Lieke, and Abrahamse, Wokje. 2005. “Factors Influencing the Acceptability of Energy Policies: A Test of VBN Theory.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 25 (4): 415–25.Google Scholar
Titmuss, Richard M. 1970. The Gift Relationship. London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
Traut-Mattausch, Eva, Jonas, Eva, Forg, Michael, Frey, Dieter, and Heinemann, Friedrich. 2008. “How Should Politicians Justify Reforms to Avoid Reactance, Negative Attitudes, and Financial Dishonesty?Journal of Psychology 216 (4): 218–25.Google Scholar
Uslaner, Eric M. 2002. The Moral Foundations of Trust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
World Bank. 2007, July 26. Project Performance Assessment Report, India Ecodevelopment Project, Report #39930. Geneva: World Bank.Google Scholar
Zelezny, Lynnette C., Chua, Poh-Pheng, and Aldrich, Christina. 2000. “New Ways of Thinking about Environmentalism: Elaborating on Gender Differences in Environmentalism.” Journal of Social issues 56 (3): 443–57.Google Scholar