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Peers at work: Evidence from the lab

Author

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  • van Veldhuizen, Roel
  • Oosterbeek, Hessel
  • Sonnemans, Joep

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

  • van Veldhuizen, Roel & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Sonnemans, Joep, 2018. "Peers at work: Evidence from the lab," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 0192038-019.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:175846
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    Cited by:

    1. Albert, Philipp & Kübler, Dorothea & Silva-Goncalves, Juliana, 2022. "Peer effects of ambition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 161-195.
    2. 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).
    3. 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.
    4. Albert, Philipp & Kübler, Dorothea & Silva-Goncalves, Juliana, 2019. "Peer effects of ambition," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2019-202, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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).
    8. Marie Claire Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Post-Print halshs-02909726, HAL.
    9. 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.
    10. Marie Villeval, 2020. "Performance Feedback and Peer Effects," Working Papers halshs-02488913, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory experiment; peer group; peer effects; productivity; work habits;
    All these keywords.

    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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