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Peers at work: Evidence from the lab

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  • Roel van Veldhuizen
  • Hessel Oosterbeek
  • Joep Sonnemans

Abstract

This paper reports the results of a lab experiment designed to study the role of observability for peer effects in the setting of a simple production task. In our experiment, participants in the role of workers engage in a team real-effort task. We vary whether they can observe, or be observed by, one of their co-workers. In contrast to earlier findings from the field, we find no evidence that low-productivity workers perform better when they are observed by high-productivity co-workers. Instead, our results imply that peer effects in our experiment are heterogeneous, with some workers reciprocating a high-productivity co-worker but others taking the opportunity to free ride.

Suggested Citation

  • Roel van Veldhuizen & Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans, 2018. "Peers at work: Evidence from the lab," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(2), pages 1-15, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0192038
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192038
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gerhards, Leonie & Gravert, Christina, 2020. "Because of you I did not give up – Peer effects in perseverance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    2. Marie Claire Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Working Papers 2009, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Graff, Frederik & Grund, Christian & Harbring, Christine, 2021. "Competing on the Holodeck - The effect of virtual peers and heterogeneity in dynamic tournaments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    4. Beugnot, Julie & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Gender and peer effects on performance in social networks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 207-224.
    5. Marie Claire Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Post-Print halshs-02909726, HAL.
    6. Albert, Philipp & Kübler, Dorothea & Silva-Goncalves, Juliana, 2022. "Peer effects of ambition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 161-195.
    7. Marie Claire Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Working Papers halshs-02488913, HAL.
    8. Jiang, Lingqing, 2020. "Splash with a teammate: Peer effects in high-stakes tournaments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 165-188.
    9. Feess, Eberhard & Schilling, Thomas & Timofeyev, Yuriy, 2023. "Misreporting in teams with individual decision making: The impact of information and communication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 209(C), pages 509-532.
    10. Gürerk, Özgür & Bönsch, Andrea & Kittsteiner, Thomas & Staffeldt, Andreas, 2019. "Virtual humans as co-workers: A novel methodology to study peer effects," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 17-29.
    11. Messina, Julián & Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna & Terskaya, Anastasia, 2024. "Birds of a Feather Earn Together. Gender and Peer Effects at the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 16721, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Fuhai Hong & Yohanes E. Riyanto & Ruike Zhang, 2022. "Multidimensional social identity and redistributive preferences: an experimental study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 93(1), pages 151-184, July.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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