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Cultural Diversity, Status Concerns and the Organization of Work

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  • Fershtman, Chaim
  • Hvide, Hans K
  • Weiss, Yoram

Abstract

A well-documented human tendency is to compare outcomes with others, trying to outperform them. These tendencies vary across cultures and among different individuals in a given society. The workplace is an important source for social interaction. The willingness of workers to exert effort depends on the private and social rewards that they receive in the form of wages and esteem. Workers may differ in the importance that they give to status ranking and the reference group to which they compare themselves. We explore the conditions under which, at equilibrium, firms would mix workers with different status concerns. We then discuss the effects of such cultural diversity on wages and show that, for equally productive workers, wages may vary, reflecting the different incentives that firms provide to workers with different social concerns. We show that, under plausible conditions, a more diverse workforce can increase the total output of the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Fershtman, Chaim & Hvide, Hans K & Weiss, Yoram, 2003. "Cultural Diversity, Status Concerns and the Organization of Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 3982, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3982
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kräkel, Matthias, 2005. "Emotions and the Optimality of Unfair Tournaments," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 45, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    2. Costa, Dora L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2006. "Forging a New Identity: The Costs and Benefits of Diversity in Civil War Combat Units for Black Slaves and Freemen," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(04), pages 936-962, December.
    3. List, John A. & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Field Experiments in Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    4. 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.
    5. Emmanuelle Auriol & Régis Renault, 2008. "Status and incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 305-326.
    6. Cabrales, Antonio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni, 2008. "Interdependent preferences and segregating equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 99-113, March.
    7. Ramalingam, Abhijit, 2009. ""Endogenous" Relative Concerns: The Impact of Workers' Characteristics on Status and Pro ts in the Firm," MPRA Paper 18759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    9. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2007. "Paying Respect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 135-150, Fall.
    10. Ederer, Florian & Patacconi, Andrea, 2010. "Interpersonal comparison, status and ambition in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 348-363, August.
    11. Empar Pons Blasco & Luisa Escriche Bertolín, 2009. "Who moves up the career ladder? A model of gender differences in job promotion," Working Papers. Serie AD 2009-23, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    12. Kräkel, Matthias, 2008. "Emotions in tournaments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 204-214, July.

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    Keywords

    aggregate output; diversity; status concerns; wage dispersion;

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