January 2008

IZA DP No. 3287: The Big Carrot: High Stake Incentives Revisited

published in: Behavioral Decision Making, 2010, 23, 288-313

This paper provides an empirical demonstration of high stakes incentives in relation to religious practice. It shows that, when both positive (carrot) and negative (stick) incentives are available, the former are more effective than the latter. Specifically, it is shown that beliefs in heaven are much more relevant than beliefs in hell when estimating the production of religious commodities (church-attendance and praying equations).