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Interactions Between Workers and the Technology of Production: Evidence from Professional Baseball

  • Gould, Eric D
  • Winter, Eyal

This paper examines how the effort choices of workers within the same firm interact with each other. In contrast to the existing literature, we show that workers can affect the productivity of their co-workers based on income maximization considerations, rather than relying on behavioural considerations such as peer pressure, social norms, and shame. Theoretically, we show that a worker's effort has a positive effect on the effort of co-workers if they are complements in production, and a negative effect if they are substitutes. The theory is tested using panel data on the performance of baseball players from 1970 to 2003. The empirical analysis shows that a player's batting average significantly increases with the batting performance of his peers, but decreases with the quality of the team's pitching. Furthermore, a pitcher's performance increases with the pitching quality of his team-mates, but is unaffected by the batting output of the team. These results are inconsistent with behavioural explanations which predict that shirking by any kind of worker will increase shirking by all fellow workers. The results are consistent with the idea that the effort choices of workers interact in ways that are dependent on the technology of production. These findings are robust to controlling for individual fixed-effects, and to using changes in the composition of one's co-workers in order to produce exogenous variation in the performance of one's peers.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6527.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6527
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  1. Åslund, Olof & Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2001. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Economic Success of Immigrants - Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2729, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2004. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000439, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Eric D. Gould & Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Brian A. Jacob, 2004. "Public Housing, Housing Vouchers, and Student Achievement: Evidence from Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 233-258, March.
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  13. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Eric Gould & Victor Lavy & Daniele M. Paserman, 2004. "Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating The Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment On Ethiopians in Israel," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 489-526, May.
  15. Todd D. Kendall, 2003. "Spillovers, Complementarities, and Sorting in Labor Markets with an Application to Professional Sports," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 389-402, October.
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  24. Bruce A. Weinberg & Patricia B. Reagan & Jeffrey J. Yankow, 2004. "Do Neighborhoods Affect Hours Worked? Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 891-924, October.
  25. Joshua D. Angrist & Kevin Lang, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1613-1634, December.
  26. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
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