Sunday, October 9, 2011

Incentives and College

As a college student, sometimes I find it hard to find time to do all the things I want to. But it always ends the same: "Which would I rather want more in return for my time?". This is where I really start to feel incentives pulling me different ways. On one hand I could skip all of my homework and the incentive being video games, hanging out with friends, or watching a movie. But after a semester or a year of such behavior one would find it hard to continue college.

Not involving any monetary costs within the parameters of college, a student eventually must choose between investment or fun. Investment in this case of doing all of the assignments for all courses and only allotting time when they have the luxury to or not doing anything but fun stuff and not caring as much for their grades. So after reading "Incentives Matter" this struck me with an idea, what is motivating me?

After much deliberation I came to the conclusion that for incentives, non-monetary ones seem to have more precedence than monetary compensation if you will. So going to college for the sake of a good job that pays really well could have some drastic changes for that student in the future. Someone who invested so much time and effort just to accomplish a job that pays well but not engaging enough for them to enjoy could almost be considered not a good position for them to use their comparative advantage.

As my mind tied these thoughts together I came to the conclusion that the exact thing happened to me but while in college. I realized that the incentive for being paid a lot of money to do something that I did not wholly enjoy was more of a sunk cost of my skills than anything else. So I personally believe that when incentives go toe to toe as the professor described it in "Incentives Matter", non-monetary incentives can be more boundless than the other.

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