Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2020

Department 1



Pay for performance embodies a theory that the more an employee is paid for their work, the more productive they will be. Using an online survey, this paper studies the effect of incentives on college students, specifically, if college students react differently to incentives than employees and to what degree college students can be motivated to increase their performance on assignments. Participants in the bonus contract were awarded one extra piece of candy for each correct answer. Those in the penalty contract are given the maximum ten pieces of candy before the quiz begins, and with every incorrect answer, one piece of candy is removed from the pile. The results of this study show that participants in the bonus and penalty structure did not differ in performance levels or effort exerted. However, students with a higher preference for compensation in candy also had higher performance levels, but did not spend more time on the task. Participants also showed a preference to be compensated with candy.


Written as a Senior Capstone in Organization and Management Studies.