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I am looking for a book, which gives a broad overview of all the main theories regarding incentives. Using this book, I would like to further my understanding of things like:

  • Why slot machines keeps people motivated to play
  • Why extrinsic motivation is weaker than intrinsic motivation

Economical theories should at least contribute to the understanding of incentives.

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migrated from economics.stackexchange.com May 1 '12 at 13:00

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I guess what you are looking for is readings on applied behavioral economics. Here is a popular favourite: Freakonomics

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@David You might want follow it up with Superfreakonmics (amazon.com/Super-Freakonomics-Patriotic-Prostitutes-Insurance/…). Not in the same league, but same theme. –  check123 Apr 24 '12 at 12:59

If you want to delve deeper into the topic, If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience? is a seminal paper. Then, you can take a look at some of Bob Frank's other publications. Among them, I would recommend Passions Within Reason and Winner Take All Society.

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The aspects of incentives which you are interested in are studied by psychologists as well. I recommend Carol Dweck's work. One of her popular books is Mindset.

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You could check out any of Dan Ariely's books. Those are generally good at providing a similar to Freakonomics-level handling of a variety of economic topics, especially behavioral ones.

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