Kids get it

Sent by Jonathan Stark on February 16th, 2018

A dear reader wrote in to share the following story about the effects of incentives (name withheld by request):

Morning Mr Stark, I have a little story for you which I thought you might find funny (I did!). In our house, we have a rule where the kids (14 & 16) have to do 1 hour of chores to get their pocket money. This week I had the following conversation with my eldest: Me: Ok, get started on x, y & z, come back when you’ve finished and I’ll find something else for you to do. Him: Can’t you just give me a list of the jobs I have to do and let me get on with it. Me: No. ... later ... Me: Haven’t you finished those jobs yet, you seem to be taking ages. Him: No ... Him: ... if I finish these jobs you’re just going to give me more, so there is no incentive for me to work quickly. Why can’t you just tell me what needs to be done and I’ll get it done as quickly as possible and my reward for working hard will be finishing early. I smiled. He won that one. It would seem that even teenage boys seem to understand that hourly billing is nuts ;) Cheers!

Kids are a fascinating cohort to study when it comes to incentives for at least two reasons:

Great story! Thanks 🙂

Yours,

—J

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