An Assessment of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation on Task Performance in Crowdsourcing Markets
Crowdsourced labor markets represent a powerful new paradigm for accomplishing work. Understanding the motivating factors that lead to high quality work could have significant benefits. However, researchers have so far found that motivating factors such as increased monetary reward generally increase workers’ willingness to accept a task or the speed at which a task is completed, but do not improve the quality of the work. We hypothesize that factors that increase the intrinsic motivation of a task – such as framing a task as helping others – may succeed in improving output quality where extrinsic motivators such as increased pay do not. In this paper we present an experiment testing this hypothesis along with a novel experimental design that enables controlled experimentation with intrinsic and extrinsic motivators in Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a popular crowdsourcing task market. Results suggest that intrinsic motivation can indeed improve the quality of workers’ output, confirming our hypothesis. Furthermore, we find a synergistic interaction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators that runs contrary to previous literature suggesting “crowding out” effects. Our results have significant practical and theoretical implications for crowd work.