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Peer effects on perseverance

Author

Listed:
  • Buechel, Berno
  • Mechtenberg, Lydia
  • Petersen, Julia

Abstract

Successful performance – be it in school, at the job, or in sports activities – requires perseverance, i.e., persistent work on a demanding task. We investigate in a controlled laboratory experiment how an individual’s social environment affects perseverance. We find evidence for two kinds of peer effects: being observed by a peer can serve as a commitment device, while observing a peer can be informative. In particular, we show that successful peers affect perseverance positively if they communicate their success in a motivating way and negatively otherwise, while perseverance is unaffected by unsuccessful peers. Our experimental results suggest that peers affect perseverance indirectly, via influencing self-confidence. We turn to field data from an educational setting and find that students seem to be able to harness the power of peer effects, by selecting into groups that help them reach their goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Buechel, Berno & Mechtenberg, Lydia & Petersen, Julia, 2017. "Peer effects on perseverance," FSES Working Papers 488, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fri:fribow:fribow00488
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    File URL: http://doc.rero.ch/record/305172/files/WP_SES_488.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-control; Peer Effects; Social Networks; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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