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Worker Self-Selection and the Profits from Cooperation

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  • Michael Kosfeld
  • Ferdinand A. von Siemens

Abstract

We investigate a competitive labor market with team production. Workers differ in their motivation to exert team effort, and types are private information. We show that there can exist a separating equilibrium in which workers self-select into different firms and firms employing cooperative workers make strictly positive profits. Profit differences across firms persist because cooperation strictly increases output and worker separation requires firms employing cooperative workers to pay out weakly lower wages. (JEL: D82, D86, M50) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kosfeld & Ferdinand A. von Siemens, 2009. "Worker Self-Selection and the Profits from Cooperation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 573-582, 04-05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:573-582
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    1. 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, April.
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    3. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
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    Cited by:

    1. von Siemens, Ferdinand A. & Kosfeld, Michael, 2014. "Team production in competitive labor markets with adverse selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 181-198.
    2. Cooper, David J. & Saral, Krista & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Why Join a Team?," IZA Discussion Papers 12587, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
      • David J. Cooper & Krista Saral & Marie Claire Villeval, 2021. "Why Join a Team?," Post-Print halshs-03003653, HAL.
      • David Cooper & Krista Saral & Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Why Join a Team?," Working Papers halshs-02295921, HAL.
      • David J. Cooper & Krista Saral & Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Why Join a Team?," Working Papers 1928, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Antonio Cabrales & Raffaele Miniaci & Marco Piovesan & Giovanni Ponti, 2010. "Social Preferences and Strategic Uncertainty: An Experiment on Markets and Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2261-2278, December.
    4. von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2013. "Intention-based reciprocity and the hidden costs of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 55-65.
    5. Francesca Barigozzi & Piero Tedeschi, 2015. "Credit Markets with Ethical Banks and Motivated Borrowers," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 1281-1313.
    6. Kosfeld, Michael, 2019. "The Role of Leaders in Inducing and Maintaining Cooperation: The CC Strategy," IZA Discussion Papers 12540, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2015. "Signaling cooperation," SAFE Working Paper Series 120, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    8. Antoni Cunyat, 2019. "Crowding-out effect and sorting in competitive labour markets with motivated workers," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 326-330, February.
    9. Dur, Robert & Sol, Joeri, 2010. "Social interaction, co-worker altruism, and incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 293-301, July.
    10. Gill, Andrej & Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2014. "Trust, trustworthiness and selection into the financial industry," CFS Working Paper Series 458, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    11. Antonio Cabrales, 2010. "The causes and economic consequences of envy," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 371-386, September.
    12. Dominik Erharter, 2013. "Screening Experts' Distributional Preferences," Working Papers 2013-27, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    13. Dur, Robert & Non, Arjan & Roelfsema, Hein, 2010. "Reciprocity and incentive pay in the workplace," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 676-686, August.
    14. 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.
    15. Jesper Armouti-Hansen & Lea Cassar & Anna Deréky, 2020. "Efficiency Wages with Motivated Agents," CESifo Working Paper Series 8474, CESifo.
    16. DeVaro, Jed & Maxwell, Nan & Morita, Hodaka, 2017. "Training and intrinsic motivation in nonprofit and for-profit organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 196-213.
    17. Dominik Erharter, 2012. "Credence goods markets, distributional preferences and the role of institutions," Working Papers 2012-11, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    18. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2015. "Signaling Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 10942, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Sarkisian, Roberto, 2017. "Team Incentives under Moral and Altruistic Preferences: Which Team to Choose?," TSE Working Papers 17-838, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    20. Cerrone Claudia & Manna Ester, 2018. "Pay for Performance with Motivated Employees," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 1-8, January.
    21. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2017. "Signaling cooperation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 199-216.
    22. Heinz, Matthias & Schumacher, Heiner, 2016. "Signaling Cooperation," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145648, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    23. Non, Arjan, 2012. "Gift-exchange, incentives, and heterogeneous workers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 319-336.
    24. Barigozzi, Francesca & Burani, Nadia, 2019. "Competition for talent when firms' mission matters," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 128-151.
    25. Cooper, David J. & Ioannou, Christos A. & Qi, Shi, 2018. "Endogenous incentive contracts and efficient coordination," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 78-97.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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