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Peer pressure, incentives, and gender: An experimental analysis of motivation in the workplace

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  • Bellemare, Charles
  • Lepage, Patrick
  • Shearer, Bruce

Abstract

We present results from a real-effort experiment, simulating actual workplace conditions, comparing the productivity of workers under fixed wages and piece rates. Workers, who were paid to enter data, were exposed to different degrees of peer pressure under both payment systems. The peer pressure was generated in the form of private information about the productivity of their peers. We have two main results. First, we find no level of peer pressure for which the productivity of either male or female workers is significantly higher than the productivity without peer pressure. Second, we find that very low and very high levels of peer pressure can significantly decrease productivity (particularly for men paid fixed wages). These results are consistent with models of conformism and self-motivation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellemare, Charles & Lepage, Patrick & Shearer, Bruce, 2010. "Peer pressure, incentives, and gender: An experimental analysis of motivation in the workplace," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 276-283, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:1:p:276-283
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Cahiers de recherche 1320, CIRPEE.
    2. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Gender and Peer Effects on Performance in Social Networks," Working Papers halshs-00855047, HAL.
    3. Beugnot, Julie & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2017. "Gender and Peer Effects in Social Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 10588, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Georganas, Sotiris & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2015. "Peer pressure and productivity: The role of observing and being observed," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 223-232.
    5. Mathieu Lefebvre & Pierre Pestieau & Arno Riedl & Marie Villeval, 2015. "Tax evasion and social information: an experiment in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 401-425, June.
    6. Eisenkopf, Gerald & Friehe, Tim, 2014. "Stop watching and start listening! The impact of coaching and peer observation in tournaments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 56-70.
    7. William Gilje Gjedrem & Ola Kvaløy, 2018. "Relative Performance Feedback to Teams," CESifo Working Paper Series 6871, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Cahiers de recherche 1320, CIRPEE.
    9. Bougheas, Spiros & Nieboer, Jeroen & Sefton, Martin, 2013. "Risk-taking in social settings: Group and peer effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 273-283.
    10. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "The Impact of Social Comparisons on Reciprocity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1346-1367, December.
    11. Rao, T.V.S. Ramamohan, 2011. "CES as an Organizational Production Function," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 69-81.
    12. Frick, Bernd, 2011. "Gender differences in competitiveness: Empirical evidence from professional distance running," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 389-398, June.
    13. Gerhards, Leonie & Gravert, Christina, 2016. "Because of you I did not give up - How peers affect perseverance," Working Papers in Economics 659, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. Beugnot, Julie & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 7521, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Cardella, Eric & Depew, Briggs, 2016. "Testing for the Ratchet Effect: Evidence from a Real-Effort Work Task," IZA Discussion Papers 9981, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:182-202 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer effects Fixed wages Piece rates Gender;

    JEL classification:

    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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