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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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Related research

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

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References

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  1. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 360, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  3. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  4. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matt Notowidigdo, 2007. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 13422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin, 2010. "You get what you pay for: Incentives and Selection in the Education System," Research Memorandum 011, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  9. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk, 2010. "You Get What You Pay For: Incentives and Selection in the Education System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages F256-F271, 08.
  10. Esther Dufluo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin, 2010. "You get what you pay for: Incentives and Selection in the Education System," ROA Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
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