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The plural roots of rewards: awards and incentives in Aquinas and Genovesi

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In this economic debate, incentives (material, extrinsic) and awards (symbolic, intrinsic) are conceived as two opposite tools to prompt human actions. In this article, we provide a historical argument to problematise this opposition. We investigate the idea of prizes (“premi”) in the works of civil economist Antonio Genovesi, and its seeds in Thomas Aquinas’ thought. They both discuss if material rewards can crowd-in intrinsic motivations. Aquinas considered the crowding-out risks related to honour (award). Genovesi stressed the role of private prizes (incentives) and market in fostering the development of society, and claims that crowding-in is more common than crowding-out.
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Keywords: Aquinas; Genovesi; civil economy; incentives; prizes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 4, 2018

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