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Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments

  • Jonathan Guryan
  • Kory Kroft
  • Matthew J. Notowidigdo

This paper uses random assignment in professional golf tournaments to test for peer effects in the workplace. We find no evidence that playing partners' ability affects performance, contrary to recent evidence on peer effects in the workplace from laboratory experiments, grocery scanners, and soft fruit pickers. In our preferred specification, we can rule out peer effects larger than 0.043 strokes for a one stroke increase in playing partners' ability. Our results complement existing studies on workplace peer effects and are useful in explaining how social effects vary across labor markets, across individuals, and with the form of incentives faced. (JEL D83, J44, L83)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 34-68

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:34-68
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.34
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  1. Gordon C. Winston & David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Higher Education," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-64, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    • Gordon Winston & David Zimmerman, 2004. "Peer Effects in Higher Education," NBER Chapters, in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 395-424 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John A. List, 2005. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," NBER Working Papers 11616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 9-23, February.
  4. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Peers at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2292, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael L. Bognanno, 1988. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," NBER Working Papers 2638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects And Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055, August.
  9. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2006. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 39-58, January.
  11. Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo, 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.
  12. Thomas Lemieux & W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 2007. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  15. Edward Lazear & Ulrike Malmendier & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Sorting, Prices, and Social Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Roland BĂ©nabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915, August.
  17. List, John & Millimet, Daniel, . "Bounding the Impact of Market Experience on Rationality: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Imperfect Compliance," Departmental Working Papers 0505, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  18. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  19. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  20. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 417-458.
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