I just found a new AER paper that agrees with my view (highly debated by Ugo) that salaries should not be high at the UN. In Doing Good or Doing Well: Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially (which I haven't read), the authors look at how image motivation—the desire to be liked and well‐regarded by others—drives prosocial behavior (doing good), and asks whether extrinsic monetary incentives (doing well) have a detrimental effect on prosocial behavior due to crowding out of image motivation. They find that that image motivation is crowded out by monetary incentives; meaning that monetary incentives are more likely to be counterproductive for public prosocial activities than for private ones. I can't believe I had missed their paper when it made the Economics Focus.
I admit it, I was browsing the AER. I also found another interesting paper, Democracy and Foreign Education, that shows that foreign-educated individuals promote democracy in their home country, but only if the foreign education is acquired in democratic countries. I had always wondered if all these people that go get brainwashed in the US embraced the US mentality or if it had the opposite effect of frustration and complete rejection. Seems like it works a bit.