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Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory


  • Gary Charness

    () (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2127 North Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9210)

  • Marie-Claire Villeval

    () (University Lyon 2, Lyon, F-69007, France; CNRS, GATE, 93, Chemin de Mouilles Ecully, F- 69130, France, IZA, Bonn, Germany, and CCP, Aarhus, Denmark)


There is economic pressure towards the postponement of the retirement age, but employers are still reluctant to employ older workers. We investigate the comparative behavior of juniors and seniors in experiments conducted both onsite with the employees of two large firms and in a conventional laboratory environment with students and retirees. We show that seniors are no more risk averse than juniors and are typically more cooperative ; both juniors and working seniors respond strongly to competition. The implication is that it may be beneficial to define additional incentives near the end of the career to motivate and retain older workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory," Working Papers 0931, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:0931

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Age; performance; diversity; stereotypes; cooperation; competition; inter-generational games; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General


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