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Learning unethical practices from a co-worker: The peer effect of Jose Canseco

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Author Info

  • Gould, Eric D.
  • Kaplan, Todd R.

Abstract

This paper examines the issue of whether workers learn productive skills from their co-workers, even if those skills are unethical. Specifically, we estimate whether Jose Canseco, a star baseball player in the late 1980's and 1990's, affected the performance of his teammates by introducing them to steroids. Using panel data, we show that a player's performance increases significantly after they played with Jose Canseco. After checking 30 comparable players from the same era, we find that no other baseball player produced a similar effect. Furthermore, the positive effect of Canseco disappears after 2003, the year that drug testing was implemented. These results suggest that workers not only learn productive skills from their co-workers, but sometimes those skills may derive from unethical practices. These findings may be relevant to many workplaces where competitive pressures create incentives to adopt unethical means to boost productivity and profits. Our analysis leads to several potential policy implications designed to reduce the spread of unethical behavior among workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 338-348

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:3:p:338-348

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

Related research

Keywords: Peer effects Corruption Crime Externalities;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Evidence for peer effects
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2008-06-25 09:28:45
  2. Crime, unemployment & peer effects
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-10-20 14:18:18
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez & Kerry L. Papps, 2010. "Heterogeneous Worker Ability and Team-Based Production: Evidence from Major League Baseball, 1920-2009," CEP Discussion Papers dp1015, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. John Charles Bradbury, 2013. "Did Jose Canseco Really Improve the Performance of His Teammates by Spreading Steroids? A Critique of Gould and Kaplan," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 10(1), pages 40-69, January.
  3. Vilen Lipatov, 2014. "Compliance Dynamics Generated by Social Interaction Rules," CESifo Working Paper Series 4767, CESifo Group Munich.

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