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Letting Down the Team? Social Effects of Team Incentives

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  • Babcock, Philip
  • Bedard, Kelly
  • Charness, Gary
  • Hartman, John
  • Royer, Heather

Abstract

This paper estimates social effects of incentivizing people in teams. In two fieldexperiments featuring exogenous team formation and opportunities for repeated socialinteractions, we find large team effects that operate through social channels. The teamcompensation system induced agents to choose effort as if they valued a marginal dollar ofcompensation for their teammate from two-thirds as much (in one study) to twice as much asthey valued a dollar of their own compensation (in the other study). We conclude that socialeffects of monetary team incentives exist and can induce effort at lower cost than through directindividual payment.

Suggested Citation

  • Babcock, Philip & Bedard, Kelly & Charness, Gary & Hartman, John & Royer, Heather, 2012. "Letting Down the Team? Social Effects of Team Incentives," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt93n646db, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt93n646db
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    Cited by:

    1. Angelucci, Manuela & Prina, Silvia & Royer, Heather & Samek, Anya, 2015. "When Incentives Backfire: Spillover Effects in Food Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 9288, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Georganas, Sotiris & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2015. "Peer pressure and productivity: The role of observing and being observed," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 223-232.
    3. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert & Souverijn, Michiel, 2017. "Team Incentives, Task Assignment, and Performance: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 11228, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Carrera, Mariana & Royer, Heather & Stehr, Mark & Sydnor, Justin, 2018. "Can financial incentives help people trying to establish new habits? Experimental evidence with new gym members," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 202-214.
    5. Ana María Díaz & Ignacio Penagos, 2018. "It is not what you know but who you know: Heterogenous peer efects in education," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, vol. 80(2), pages 53-88, February.
    6. Kräkel, Matthias & Nieken, Petra, 2015. "Relative performance pay in the shadow of crisis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 244-268.
    7. Tomas Sjöström & Levent Ülkü & Radovan Vadovic, 2017. "Free to Choose: Testing the Pure Motivation Effect of Autonomous Choice," Carleton Economic Papers 17-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    8. Serhiy Kandul & Bruno Lanz, 2018. "When social norms and self-image conflict: A public good experiment with social comparison feedback," IRENE Working Papers 18-06, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    9. Herbst, Luisa & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2015. "Endogenous group formation in experimental contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 163-189.
    10. Youjin Hahn & Asadul Islam & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2015. "Teams, Organization and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a field experiment in Bangladesh," Monash Economics Working Papers 35-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    11. repec:eee:eecrev:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:230-249 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Köhler, Katrin & Pagel, Beatrice & Rau, Holger A., 2015. "How worker participation affects reciprocity under minimum remuneration policies: Experimental evidence," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 267, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    13. Hahn, Youjin & Hassani Mahmooei, Behrooz & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2016. "Do Friends Improve Female Education? The Case of Bangladesh," CEPR Discussion Papers 11615, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. repec:eee:labeco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:110-117 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Rohde, Kirsten I.M. & Verbeke, Willem, 2017. "We like to see you in the gym—A field experiment on financial incentives for short and long term gym attendance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 388-407.
    16. repec:eee:soceco:v:70:y:2017:i:c:p:23-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Landmann, Andreas & Pradhan, Shailee, 2018. "Can group incentives alleviate moral hazard? The role of pro-social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 230-249.
    18. William Gilje Gjedrem & Ola Kvaløy, 2018. "Relative Performance Feedback to Teams," CESifo Working Paper Series 6871, CESifo Group Munich.
    19. Gary Charness & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Groups Make Better Self-Interested Decisions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 157-176, Summer.
    20. Bartke, Simon & Gelhaar, Felix, 2018. "When does team remuneration work? An experimental study on interactions between workplace contexts," Kiel Working Papers 2105, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    21. Simone Haeckl & Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2018. "Work Motivation and Teams," Discussion Papers 18-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    22. Gall, Thomas & Hu, Xiaocheng & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2016. "Dynamic Incentive Effects of Team Formation: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 10393, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    23. Mariana Carrera & Heather Royer & Mark F. Stehr & Justin R. Sydnor, 2017. "The Structure of Health Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Cappelen, Alexander W & Charness, Gary & Ekström, Mathias & Gneezy, Uri & Tungodden, Bertil, 2017. "Exercise Improves Academic Performance," Working Paper Series 1180, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences; field experiment; team incentives; social effects;

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