Working Paper BETA #2020-23

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Title : A survey on experimental elicitation of creativity in economics

Author(s) : Giuseppe Attanasi, Michela Chessa, Sara Gil Gallen, Patrick Llerena

Abstract : The interplay between individual creative ability and the way to enhance it – through monetary and nonmonetary incentives – is an issue with tremendous potential for economic analysis. In this survey, we dwell into the issue by focusing on the methodological advantages of economic experiments. We provide a review of the literature in experimental economics on creativity, identifying six main directions of analysis. Namely, the impact on creativity of: (1) low vs high monetary incentives, (2) the interplay of monetary incentives and tasks, (3) within-group competition, (4) within-group cooperation, (5) cultural factors, and (6) non-monetary social incentives. In the spirit of a “meta-study,” we classify the works in our review not only according to the aforementioned research questions, but also disentangling by the type of creative task that the experimental subjects face, the way in which creativity is assessed, and other key features of standard experimental procedures in economics. This multidimensional comparison allows us to conclude that the current lack of robust findings on the determinants of creativity in economics might be due to the absence of comparable experimental studies under the same experimental conditions. We conduct our analysis without neglecting the psychological roots of creativity research and their way through management, underlying how both disciplines have heavily outlined the work of experimental economists in the topic of creativity.

Key-words : Creativity, Experimental Economics, Social Psychology, Incentives, Intrinsic Motivation

JEL Classification : C91, C92, D91, O31