A Systematic Review of Experimental Research on Public Service Motivation
Experimental research has been increasingly recognized as the gold standard for causal inference. However, despite the call for the adoption of experimental approaches to the study of public service motivation (PSM) - one of the most researched topics in the field of public administration - we find that the number of such studies is small in this first-ever review of systematic assessment of experimental research on PSM. Reviewing the universe of such experimental studies - 41 in total - by their topic and type, first, we find that they are concentrated on the analysis of the efforts of PSM and in survey experiments by type. Second, while many studies confirm that PSM positively influences various outcomes, they also show that other intrinsic and extrinsic motivations often outperformed PSM. Third, while acknowledging that methodologically, the randomization of treatment has been well adopted in recent years, we highlight some key recommendations for further improvements regarding the type of experiment, sample characteristics, measurement, and treatment sequences based on our review.
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