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Clean Evidence on Peer Effects

  • Armin Falk

    (University of Bonn, IZA, CEPR, and CESifo)

  • Andrea Ichino

    (European University Institute, IZA, CEPR, and CESifo)

We study subjects who were asked to fill letters into envelopes with a remuneration independent of output. In the "pair" treatment, two subjects worked at the same time in the same room, and peer effects were possible. In the "single" treatment, subjects worked alone, and peer effects were ruled out. We find evidence of peer effects in the pair treatment because the standard deviations of output are smaller within pairs than between pairs. Moreover, average output is higher in the pair treatment: thus, peer effects raise productivity. Finally, low-productivity workers are the most sensitive to the behavior of peers.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/497818
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 39-58

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:24:y:2006:i:1:p:39-58
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090.
  2. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
  3. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  4. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2005. "Driving Forces Behind Informal Sanctions," IZA Discussion Papers 1635, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Daniel S. Nagin & James B. Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 850-873, September.
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  8. Fahr, Rene & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2000. "Fairness as a constraint on trust in reciprocity: earned property rights in a reciprocal exchange experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 275-282, March.
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  14. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
  15. 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.
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