All of sam_kayley's Comments + Replies

Affective Death Spirals

Affective death spiral sounds like something to do with depression, praise locked loop may give a more accurate impression of the idea.

Lost Purposes

In cases of delayed effects, linking pensions to outcomes years later might provide incentives.

For instance, teachers pensions could depend on the eventual earnings of their pupils, or elections could have tickboxes for evaluating the last politician.

(which doesn't help the problem of credit being due to many people)

Necroing: Punishments and rewards should be kept as close to the (un)desired behaviour as possible. Noise to signal ratio should be kept as low as possible. Linking teachers' pensions to their pupils earnings (which depend heavily on things like "the economy") is one of the most demotivating proposals I have ever heard. As for grading politicians - you either vote for their party, or you don't. Which is the only feedback from the general public they maybe care about. (But why would they - most democracies have a two party system. Get elected, fill your pockets, wait your turn. Maybe wait two terms - big whoop!) If you want to experience what proper, habit forming, behaviour changing incentive structure feels like, I suggest trying a "free-to-play" mobile game. Clear objectives, daily tasks, randomized rewards - Skinner would be proud. Be warned, the end result is not that different from a casino. But if you don't have an addictive personality, the risk might be worth it. I walked away with the following enlightenment: "All that psychology I've been reading about? It really does work! On me!!!". Of course, gamefying complex tasks is difficult and in certain cases might be impossible. I think it is seriously worth a try in education.
Marginally Zero-Sum Efforts

Job applications are another example of this effect.

For funding agencies that are all under the control of (e.g.) the US government, rationing the total number of applications any researcher (or group) can put in could be a solution.