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Competitive Work Environments and Social Preferences: Field Experimental Evidence from a Japanese Fishing Community

  • Carpenter Jeffrey P

    ()

    (Middlebury College)

  • Seki Erika

    ()

    (University of Aberdeen)

Models of job tournaments and competitive workplaces more generally predict that while individual effort may increase as competition intensifies between workers, the incentive for workers to cooperate with each other diminishes. We report on a field experiment conducted with workers from a fishing community in Toyama Bay, Japan. Our participants are employed in three different aspects of fishing. The first group are fishermen, the second group are fish wholesalers (or traders), and the third group are staff at the local fishing coop. Although our participants have much in common (e.g., their common relationship to the local fishery and the fact that they all live in the same community), we argue that they are exposed to different amounts of competition on-the-job and that these differences explain differences in cooperation in our experiment. Specifically, fishermen and traders, who interact in more competitive environments are significantly less cooperative than the coop staff who face little competition on the job. Further, after accounting for the possibility of personality-based selection, perceptions of competition faced on-the-job and the treatment effect of job incentives explain these differences in cooperation to a large extent.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 5 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 1-25

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.5:y:2006:i:2:n:2
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  1. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Jeffrey Carpenter & Amrita Daniere & Lois Takahashi, 2003. "Cooperation, Trust, and Social Capital in Southeast Asian Urban Slums," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0309, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  3. Imran Rasul & John List, 2010. "Field experiments in labor economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00092, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Drago, Robert & Garvey, Gerald T, 1998. "Incentives for Helping on the Job: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-25, January.
  5. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2011. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence From Fishermen In Toyama Bay," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 612-630, 04.
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  9. John A. List, 2004. "Young, Selfish and Male: Field evidence of social preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 121-149, 01.
  10. Jeffrey Carpenter & Stephen Burks & Lorenz Götte, 2006. "Performance Pay and the Erosion of Worker Cooperation: Field experimental evidence," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0603, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  11. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
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  13. Ledyard, John O., . "Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research," Working Papers 861, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  14. Seki, Erika, 2006. "Effects of rotation scheme on fishing behaviour with price discrimination and limited durability: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 106-135, June.
  15. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
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  17. Glenn Harrison & Jeff Carpenter & John List, 2005. "Field experiments in economics: An introduction," Artefactual Field Experiments 00034, The Field Experiments Website.
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