IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/7114.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence from Personnel Data

Author

Listed:
  • Bandiera, Oriana
  • Barankay, Iwan
  • Rasul, Imran

Abstract

We present evidence on the effect of social connections between workers and managers on productivity in the workplace. To evaluate whether the existence of social connections is beneficial to the firm's overall performance, we explore how the effects of social connections vary with the strength of managerial incentives and worker's ability. To do so, we combine panel data on individual worker's productivity from personnel records with a natural field experiment in which we engineered an exogenous change in managerial incentives, from fixed wages, to bonuses based on the average productivity of the workers managed. We find that when managers are paid fixed wages, they favor workers to whom they are socially connected irrespective of the worker's ability, but when they are paid performance bonuses, they target their effort towards high ability workers irrespective of whether they are socially connected to them or not. Although social connections increase the performance of connected workers, we find that favoring connected workers is detrimental for the firm's overall performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence from Personnel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7114
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7114
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Milgrom, Paul R, 1988. "Employment Contracts, Influence Activities, and Efficient Organization Design," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 42-60, February.
    2. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2005. "CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2661-2700, December.
    3. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    4. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-580, June.
    5. Laura Giuliano & David I. Levine & Jonathon Leonard, 2006. "An Analysis of Quits, Dismissals, and Promotions at a Large Retail Firm," Working Papers 0721, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    6. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-817, August.
    7. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
    8. Kofman, Fred & Lawarree, Jacques, 1993. "Collusion in Hierarchical Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 629-656, May.
    9. Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn, 2005. "Pay Inequality, Pay Secrecy, and Effort: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing with Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208.
    12. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    13. Giuliano, Laura & Levine, David I. & Leonard, Jonathan, 2006. "Do Race, Age, and Gender Differences Affect Manager-Employee Relations? An Analysis of Quits, Dismissals, and Promotions at a Large Retail Firm," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt9tc8n5j7, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    14. Harry J. Paarsch & Bruce S. Shearer, 1999. "The Response of Worker Effort to Piece Rates: Evidence from the British Columbia Tree-Planting Industry," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 643-667.
    15. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Efficiency of Equity in Organizational Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 154-159, May.
    16. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
    17. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    18. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    19. Laband, David N & Piette, Michael J, 1994. "Favoritism versus Search for Good Papers: Empirical Evidence Regarding the Behavior of Journal Editors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 194-203, February.
    20. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
    21. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
    22. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
    23. Sandra E. Black & Philip E. Strahan, 2001. "The Division of Spoils: Rent-Sharing and Discrimination in a Regulated Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 814-831, September.
    24. Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Atif Mian, 2005. "Do Lenders Favor Politically Connected Firms? Rent Provision in an Emerging Financial Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1371-1411.
    25. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2003. "Beyond Incentive Pay: Insiders' Estimates of the Value of Complementary Human Resource Management Practices," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 155-180, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2008. "Social capital in the workplace: Evidence on its formation and consequences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 724-748, August.
    2. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2373-2437 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dur, Robert & Roelfsema, Hein, 2010. "Social exchange and common agency in organizations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 55-63, January.
    4. Agnieszka Rusinowska & Vassili Vergopoulos, 2020. "Ingratiation and Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 176(3), pages 413-445.
    5. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John List, 2019. "How natural field experiments have enhanced our understanding of unemployment," Natural Field Experiments 00649, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Omar Al‐Ubaydli & Steffen Andersen & Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2015. "Carrots That Look Like Sticks: Toward an Understanding of Multitasking Incentive Schemes," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 81(3), pages 538-561, January.
    7. Donze, Jocelyn & Gunnes, Trude, 2018. "Becoming “We” instead of “I”, identity management and incentives in the workplace," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 105-120.
    8. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
    9. Kouroche Vafaï, 1999. "A Theory of Abuse of Authority in Hierarchies," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-07, CIRANO.
    10. Michael Waldman, 2012. "Theory and Evidence in Internal Labor Markets," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    11. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2007. "Personnel Economics: The Economist's View of Human Resources," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
    12. Agnieszka Rusinowska & Vassili Vergopoulos, 2016. "Ingratiation and Favoritism in Organizations," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 16010, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    13. Dur, Robert & Non, Arjan & Roelfsema, Hein, 2010. "Reciprocity and incentive pay in the workplace," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 676-686, August.
    14. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2011. "Field Experiments with Firms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 63-82, Summer.
    15. Livio, Luca & De Chiara, Alessandro, 2019. "Friends or foes? Optimal incentives for reciprocal agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 245-278.
    16. Shi Lan, 2010. "Incentive Effect of Piece-Rate Contracts: Evidence from Two Small Field Experiments," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, July.
    17. Theilen Bernd, 2009. "Market Competition and Lower Tier Incentives," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-29, June.
    18. Delfgaauw, Josse & Souverijn, Michiel, 2016. "Biased supervision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 107-125.
    19. Christophe Lemiére & Gaute Torsvik & Ottar Mæstad & Christopher H. Herbst & Kenneth L. Leonard, 2013. "Evaluating the Impact of Results-Based Financing on Health Worker Performance: Theory, Tools and Variables to Inform an Impact Evaluation," Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper Series 98269, The World Bank.
    20. De Chiara, Alessandro & Livio, Luca, 2017. "The threat of corruption and the optimal supervisory task," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 172-186.
    21. Thiele, Veikko, 2007. "Performance measurement in multi-task agencies," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 148-163, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    favoritism; managerial incentives; natural field experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7114. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.