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Competitive Preferences and Status as an Incentive: Experimental Evidence

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  • Gary Charness
  • David Masclet

    ()

  • Marie-Claire Villeval

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate individuals’ investment in status in an environment where no monetary return can possibly be derived from reaching a better relative position. We use a real-effort experiment in which we permit individuals to learn and potentially improve their relative position in terms of performance. We find that people express a taste for status. People increase their effort when they are informed about their relative performance, and some individuals pay to sabotage others’ output or to artificially increase their own performance although they are paid a flat wage. Introducing the opportunity to sabotage others’ output exerts a negative effect on performance. Such effects can be alleviated by inducing group identity that favors positive rivalry but discourages sabotage among peers. Dans cet article, nous étudions la recherche de statut par les agents économiques dans un environnement où un meilleur statut ne procure pas nécessairement un avantage monétaire. Pour cela, nous avons réalisé une expérience en effort réel dans laquelle les agents sont amenés à fournir un niveau d’effort et sont informés de la performance de leurs collègues de travail. Nous observons que la plupart des gens ont un goût élevé pour la compétition et la recherche de statut au sein de leur groupe. Les individus augmentent leur niveau d’effort dès lors qu’ils sont informés de l’effort des autres. Certains sont même disposés à saboter l’effort des autres ou à accroitre artificiellement leur propre effort afin d’accroitre artificiellement leur statut.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2011s-07.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-07

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Keywords: Status seeking; rank; competitive preferences; experiment ; recherche de statut; classement; préférences compétitives; expérience;

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Cited by:
  1. Kamphorst, Jurjen J.A. & Swank, Otto H., 2013. "When Galatea cares about her reputation: How having faith in your workers reduces their motivation to shine," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 91-104.
  2. Eriksson, Tor & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Respect and relational contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 286-298.
  3. Balafoutas, Loukas & Lindner, Florian & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Munich Reprints in Economics 20132, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Tran, Anh & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2012. "Rank as an inherent incentive: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 645-650.
  5. Aldo Rustichini & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2012. "Moral Hypocrisy, Power and Social Preferences," Working Papers 1216, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  6. Kuhn, Peter J. & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2011. "Do Women Prefer a Co-operative Work Environment?," IZA Discussion Papers 5999, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Nadja Kairies & Miriam Krieger, 2013. "How do Non-Monetary Performance Incentives for Physicians Affect the Quality of Medical Care? – A Laboratory Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0414, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  8. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González & Stephen Rassenti, 2011. "Real Effort, Real Leisure and Real-time Supervision: Incentives and Peer Pressure in Virtual Organizations," Working Papers 11-05, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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