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Inequality Aversion and Performance in and on the Field

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  • Benno Torgler
  • Markus Schaffner
  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Sascha L. Schmidt
  • Uwe Dulleck

Abstract

The experimental literature and studies using survey data have established that people care a great deal about their relative economic position and not solely, as standard economic theory assumes, about their absolute economic position. Individuals are concerned about social comparisons. However, behavioral evidence in the field is rare. This paper provides an empirical analysis, testing the model of inequality aversion using two unique panel data sets for basketball and soccer players. We find support that the concept of inequality aversion helps to understand how the relative income situation affects performance in a real competitive environment with real tasks and real incentives.

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  • Benno Torgler & Markus Schaffner & Bruno S. Frey & Sascha L. Schmidt & Uwe Dulleck, 2008. "Inequality Aversion and Performance in and on the Field," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-18, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2008-18
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    Cited by:

    1. McDonald, Ian M. & Nikiforakis, Nikos & Olekalns, Nilss & Sibly, Hugh, 2013. "Social comparisons and reference group formation: Some experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 75-89.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality aversion; relative income; positional concerns; envy; social comparison; performance; interdependent preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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