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Peers at Work

Author

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  • Alexandre Mas
  • Enrico Moretti

Abstract

We study peer effects in the workplace. Specifically, we investigate whether, how, and why the productivity of a worker depends on the productivity of coworkers in the same team. Using high-frequency data on worker productivity from a large supermarket chain, we find strong evidence of positive productivity spillovers from the introduction of highly productive personnel into a shift. Worker effort is positively related to the productivity of workers who see him, but not workers who do not see him. Additionally, workers respond more to the presence of coworkers with whom they frequently interact. We conclude that social pressure can partially internalize free-riding externalities that are built into many workplaces. (JEL J24, L81, M54)

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Peers at Work," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 112-145, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:112-45
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.112
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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