Combining “real effort” with induced effort costs: the ball-catching task

Simon Gächter, Lingbo Huang, Martin Sefton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-712
Number of pages26
JournalExperimental Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Gift exchange
  • Online real effort experiments
  • Piece-rate theory
  • Real effort task
  • Team incentives
  • Tournaments

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