IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v120y2005i3p917-962..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data

Author

Listed:
  • Oriana Bandiera
  • Iwan Barankay
  • Imran Rasul

Abstract

We present evidence on whether workers have social preferences by comparing workers' productivity under relative incentives, where individual effort imposes a negative externality on others, with their productivity under piece rates, where it does not. We find that the productivity of the average worker is at least 50 percent higher under piece rates than under relative incentives. We show that this is due to workers partially internalizing the negative externality their effort imposes on others under relative incentives, especially when working alongside their friends. Under piece rates, the relationship among workers does not affect productivity. Further analysis reveals that workers internalize the externality only when they can monitor others and be monitored. This rules out pure altruism as the underlying motive of workers' behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:917-962.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/120.3.917
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Colin Camerer & Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein & Richard Thaler, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-441.
    3. 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.
    4. Barton H. Hamilton & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2003. "Team Incentives and Worker Heterogeneity: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Teams on Productivity and Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 465-497, June.
    5. Jones, Derek C & Kato, Takao, 1995. "The Productivity Effects of Employee Stock-Ownership Plans and Bonuses: Evidence from Japanese Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 391-414, June.
    6. Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "An Empirical Analysis of the Daily Labor Supply of Stadium Vendors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 360-392, April.
    7. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-580, June.
    8. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-817, August.
    9. James Andreoni & William Harbaugh & Lise Vesterlund, 2003. "The Carrot or the Stick: Rewards, Punishments, and Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 893-902, June.
    10. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    11. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
    12. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
    13. Amartya K. Sen, 1966. "Labour Allocation in a Cooperative Enterprise," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 361-371.
    14. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2004. "Relative and Absolute Incentives: Evidence on Worker Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 4431, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Harry J. Paarsch & Bruce Shearer, 1997. "Fixed Wages, Piece Rates, and Intertemporal Productivity: A Study of Tree Planters in British Columbia," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-01, CIRANO.
    16. Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-772, October.
    17. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1987. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 1-33, February.
    18. Cardenas, Juan-Camilo, 2003. "Real wealth and experimental cooperation: experiments in the field lab," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 263-289, April.
    19. Ostrom, Elinor & Walker, James & Gardner, Roy, 1992. "Covenants with and without a Sword: Self-Governance Is Possible," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(2), pages 404-417, June.
    20. 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.
    21. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Mohamed Salah Matoussi, 1995. "Moral Hazard, Financial Constraints and Sharecropping in El Oulja," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 381-399.
    22. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 46-82, February.
    23. Fershtman, Chaim & Hvide, Hans K & Weiss, Yoram, 2003. "Cultural Diversity, Status Concerns and the Organization of Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 3982, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    24. Richard B. Freeman & Morris M. Kleiner, 1998. "The Last American Shoe Manufacturers: Changing the Method of Pay to Survive Foreign Competition," NBER Working Papers 6750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Knoeber, Charles R & Thurman, Walter N, 1994. "Testing the Theory of Tournaments: An Empirical Analysis of Broiler Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(2), pages 155-179, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Oriana Bandiera (STICERD & LSE, 2004. "Relative and Absolute Incentives: Evidence on Worker Productivity," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 277, Econometric Society.
    2. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    3. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, December.
    4. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2373-2437 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. Kohei Daido & Takeshi Murooka, 2016. "Team Incentives and Reference‐Dependent Preferences," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 958-989, December.
    7. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2006. "Mutual Monitoring in Teams: Theory and Experimental Evidence on the Importance of Reciprocity," IZA Discussion Papers 2106, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Bingley, P. & Eriksson, T, 2001. "Pay Spread and Skewness. Employee Effort and Firm Productivity," Papers 01-2, Aarhus School of Business - Department of Economics.
    9. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    10. Michael Waldman, 2012. "Theory and Evidence in Internal Labor Markets," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    11. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2007. "Personnel Economics: The Economist's View of Human Resources," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
    12. Tat Y. Chan & Jia Li & Lamar Pierce, 2014. "Compensation and Peer Effects in Competing Sales Teams," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(8), pages 1965-1984, August.
    13. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2008. "Social capital in the workplace: Evidence on its formation and consequences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 724-748, August.
    14. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2004. "Incentives in Tournaments with Endogenous Prize Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 1340, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Bortolotti, Stefania & Devetag, Giovanna & Ortmann, Andreas, 2016. "Group incentives or individual incentives? A real-effort weak-link experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 60-73.
    16. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert & Hwang, Sung-Ha, 2009. "Strong reciprocity and team production: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 221-232, August.
    17. Dur, Robert & Sol, Joeri, 2010. "Social interaction, co-worker altruism, and incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 293-301, July.
    18. Sun, Sophia Li & Habib, Ahsan, 2020. "Determinants and consequences of tournament incentives: A survey of the literature in accounting and finance," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    19. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2008. "How many winners are good to have?: On tournaments with sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 682-702, March.
    20. Tor Eriksson & Sabrina Teyssier & Marie‐Claire Villeval, 2009. "Self‐Selection And The Efficiency Of Tournaments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(3), pages 530-548, July.
    21. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-280, April.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:917-962.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press or Christopher F. Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.