Effort is not a monotonic function of skills: Results from a global mobile experiment

Konrad Grabiszewski, Alex Horenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


At the core of economic theory is the monotonicity hypothesis: an agent's effort, as a function of their skills, is either non-decreasing or non-increasing, but not both. To test this hypothesis, we use data from Blues and Reds, a mobile app designed to conduct economic experiments that consists of a series of interactive puzzles. The sample includes 6,463 subjects from 141 countries. We measure subjects’ skills and effort levels using their response times. We replicate the same test 22 times. Surprisingly, each time we find that the optimal effort is not a monotonic function of skills but rather has a U-shape contradicting the monotonicity hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-652
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Effort
  • Experimental game theory
  • Mobile experiment
  • Monotonicity of choice
  • Skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Effort is not a monotonic function of skills: Results from a global mobile experiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this