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Do Employees Care About Their Relative Position? Behavioural Evidence Focusing on Performance

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Author Info

  • Benno Torgler

    ()
    (QUT)

  • Markus Schaffner

    ()
    (QUT)

  • Sascha L. Schmidt
  • Bruno S.Frey

Abstract

Do employees care about their relative (economic) position among co-workers in an organization? And if so, does it raise or lower their performance? Behavioral evidence on these important questions is rare. This paper takes a novel approach to answering these questions, working with sports data from two different disciplines, basketball and soccer. These sports tournaments take place in a controlled environment defined by the rules of the game. We find considerable support that positional concerns and envy reduce individual performance. In contrast, there does not seem to be any tolerance for income disparity, based on the hope that such differences signal that better times are under way. Positive behavioral consequences are observed for those who are experiencing better times.

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File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2008/231Torgler.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 231.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 16 Jun 2008
Date of revision: 16 Jun 2008
Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:231

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Related research

Keywords: Relative income; positional concerns; envy; social comparison; relative derivation; performance;

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Cited by:
  1. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G. & Popova, Vera, 2012. "Co-employment of permanently and temporarily employed agents," Munich Reprints in Economics 18169, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Egon Franck & Stephan Nüesch, 2007. "Talent and/or Popularity - What Does it Take to Be a Superstar," Working Papers 0018, University of Zurich, Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA).

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