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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.

    ()
    (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

  • Kaplan, Todd R.

    ()
    (University of Exeter)

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, one of the best baseball players in the last few decades, affected the performance of his teammates. In his autobiography, Canseco claims that he improved the productivity of his teammates by introducing them to steroids. Using panel data on baseball players, 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. Clearly, Jose Canseco had an unusual influence on the productivity of his peers. These results are consistent with Canseco’s controversial claims, and 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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3328.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2011, 18(3), 338-348
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3328

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Keywords: crime; corruption; peer effects; 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
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Cited by:
  1. Bryson, Alex & Gomez, Rafael & Papps, Kerry L., 2011. "Heterogeneous Worker Ability and Team-Based Production: Evidence from Major League Baseball, 1920-2009," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2011-6, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Mar 2011.
  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.

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