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Peer Pressure in Multi-Dimensional Work Tasks

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  • Felix Ebeling
  • Gerlinde Fellner
  • Johannes Wahlig

Abstract

We study the influence of peer pressure in multi-dimensional work tasks theoretically and in a controlled laboratory experiment. Thereby, workers face peer pressure in only one work dimension. We find that effort provision increases in the dimension where peer pressure is introduced. However, not all of this increase translates into a productivity gain, since the effect is partly offset by a decrease of effort in the work dimension without peer pressure. Furthermore, this tradeoff is stronger for workers who run behind in the dimension of peer pressure. Finally, we analyze the optimal group composition to harness peer pressure. Effort in the dimension of peer pressure and overall productivity seem to be unaffected by group composition, but the effort reduction in the dimension that is not subject to peer pressure is stronger when workers’ skills are highly diverse. Hence, it seems like optimal group composition depends on work environment. While existing literature recommends maximizing worker-groups’ skill diversity in one-dimensional work tasks, our results suggest to mix similar workers in multi-dimensional tasks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 57.

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Date of creation: 15 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0057

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Keywords: Peer Effects; Multi Tasking; Incentives; Laboratory Experiment;

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  1. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Paarsch, Harry J & Shearer, Bruce, 2000. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 59-92, February.
  3. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects With Random Assignment: Results For Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704, May.
  5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  6. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
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