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Competition and social identity in the workplace: Evidence from a Chinese textile firm

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  • Kato, Takao
  • Shu, Pian

Abstract

We study the impact of social identity on worker competition by exploiting the well-documented social divide between urban resident workers and rural migrant workers in urban Chinese firms. We analyze data on weekly output, individual characteristics, and coworker composition for all weavers in an urban Chinese textile firm during a 53-week period. The firm adopts relative performance incentives in addition to piece rates to encourage competition in the workplace. We find that social identity has a significant impact on competition: a weaver only competes against coworkers with a different social identity, but not against those sharing her own identity. The results are mainly driven by urban weavers competing aggressively against rural coworkers. Our results highlight the important role of social identity in mitigating or enhancing competition.

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  • Kato, Takao & Shu, Pian, 2016. "Competition and social identity in the workplace: Evidence from a Chinese textile firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 37-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:131:y:2016:i:pa:p:37-50
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.07.014
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    Cited by:

    1. Shoko Yamane & Ryohei Hayashi, 2018. "The Superior Peer Improves Me: Evidence from Swimming Data," ISER Discussion Paper 1025, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    2. Julien Benistant & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Unethical Behavior and Group Identity in Contests," Working Papers 1725, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Horstmann, Elaine & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Schneider, Tim, 2017. "Cooperation in public goods games: Enhancing effects of group identity and competition," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 324, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Kato, Takao & Kodama, Naomi, 2017. "Women in the Workplace and Management Practices: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 10788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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