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Why Join a Team?

Author

Listed:
  • David J. Cooper

    () (Florida State University Department of Economics and University of East Anglia School of Economics, 113 Collegiate Loop, PO Box 3062180 Tallahassee, FL 32306-2180, USA)

  • Krista Saral

    () (University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Economics, 9201 University City Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28223, USA; Webster University Geneva George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, Geneva, Switzerland; GATE, Ecully, France)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    () (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE UMR5824, 93 Chemin des Mouilles, F-69130, France; IZA, Bonn, Germany)

Abstract

We present experiments exploring why high ability workers join teams with less able co-workers when there are no short-term financial benefits. We distinguish between two explanations: pro-social preferences and expected long-term financial gains from teaching future teammates. Participants perform a real-effort task and decide whether to work independently or join a two-person team. Treatments vary the payment scheme (piece rate or revenue sharing), whether teammates can communicate, and the role of teaching. High ability workers are more willing to join teams in the absence of revenue sharing and less willing to join teams when they cannot communicate. When communication is possible, the choice of high ability workers to join teams is driven by expected future financial gains from teaching rather than some variety of pro-social preferences. This result has important implications for the role of adverse selection in determining the productivity of teams.

Suggested Citation

  • David J. Cooper & Krista Saral & Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Why Join a Team?," Working Papers 1928, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1928
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Teams; teaching; revenue sharing; social preferences; self-selection; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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