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Quitting and Peer Effects at Work

  • Julie Rosaz

    (LAMETA - Laboratoire Montpelliérain d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - Université Montpellier I - CNRS : UMR5474 - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) : UR1135 - Centre international de hautes études agronomiques méditerranéennes [CIHEAM])

  • Robert Slonim

    (University of Sydney, School of economics - University of Sydney)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    ()

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure (ENS) - Lyon - PRES Université de Lyon - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I)

While peer effects have been shown to affect worker's productivity when workers are paid a fixed wage, there is little evidence on their influence on quitting decisions. This paper presents results from an experiment in which participants receive a piece-rate wage to perform a real-effort task. After completing a compulsory work period, the participants have the option at any time to continue working or quit. To study peer effects, we randomly assign participants to work alone or have one other worker in the room with them. When a peer is present, we manipulate the environment by giving either vague or precise feedback on the co-worker's output, and also vary whether the two workers can communicate. We find that allowing individuals to work with a co-worker present does not increase worker's productivity. However, the presence of a peer in all working conditions causes workers to quit at more similar times. When, and only when, communication is allowed, workers are significantly more likely to (1) stay longer if their partner is still working, and (2) work longer the more productive they are. We conclude that when workers receive a piece-rate wage, critical peer effects occur only when workers can communicate with each other.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00684812.

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Date of creation: 03 Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00684812
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  1. Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2006. "Peers at Work," NBER Working Papers 12508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eriksson, Tor & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2008. "Feedback and Incentives: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matt Notowidigdo, 2007. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 13422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  5. Tor Eriksson & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00451557, HAL.
  6. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  7. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away from Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101, 08.
  8. Ichino, Andrea & Maggi, Giovanni, 2000. "Work Environment And Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials In A Large Italian Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 2387, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Tor Eriksson & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2008. "Feedback and Incentives : Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-00276396, HAL.
  11. Ryo Nakajima, 2004. "Measuring Peer Effects on Youth Smoking Behavior," ISER Discussion Paper 0600, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  12. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-78, September.
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