Revenue Drift, Incentives, and Effort Allocation in Social Enterprises

Theodor Vladasel, Simon C. Parker*, Randolph Sloof, Mirjam Van Praag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paperResearch


Revenue drift, where insufficient attention is given to economic, relative to social, goals, threatens social enterprise performance and survival. We argue that financial incentives can address this problem by redirecting employee attention to commercial tasks and attracting workers less inclined to fixate on social tasks. In an online experiment with varying incentive levels, monetary rewards succeed in directing worker effort to commercial tasks; high-powered incentives attract less prosocial employees, but low-powered incentives do not alter workforce composition. Social enterprises combining monetary rewards with a social mission not only attract more workers, but are also able to guard against revenue drift.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBonn
Number of pages94
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
SeriesIZA Discussion Paper


  • Incentives
  • Multitasking
  • Experiment
  • Social enterprise
  • Prosociality

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