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The Dark Side of Competition for Status

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  • Charness, Gary
  • Masclet, David
  • Villeval, Marie Claire

Abstract

Unethical behavior within organizations is not rare. We investigate experimentallythe role of status-seeking behavior in sabotage and cheating activities aiming at improving one’sperformance ranking in a flat-wage environment. We find that average effort is higher whenindividuals are informed about their relative performance. However, ranking feedback alsofavors disreputable behavior. Some individuals do not hesitate to incur a cost to improve theirrank by sabotaging others’ work or by increasing artificially their own performance. Introducingsabotage opportunities has a strong detrimental effect on performance. Therefore, rankingincentives should be used with care. Inducing group identity discourages sabotage among peersbut increases in-group rivalry.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt3858888w.

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Date of creation: 23 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt3858888w

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Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences; Status; ranking; feedback; sabotage; doping; competitive preferences; experiment;

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Cited by:
  1. Conrads, Julian & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Rilke, Rainer Michael & Schielke, Anne & Walkowitz, Gari, 2014. "Honesty in tournaments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 90-93.
  2. C. Giannetti & R. Orsini, 2013. "Mortality Salience, Self-esteem and Status Seeking," Working Papers, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna wp910, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Oliver Gurtler, 2013. "Sabotage in Contests: A Survey," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 051, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  4. C. Giannetti & R. Orsini, 2013. "Being nice with the experimenter?," Working Papers, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna wp913, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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