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The Dark Side of Competition for Status (preprint)

Author

Listed:
  • Gary Charness

    (University of California)

  • David Masclet

    (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon)

Abstract

Unethical behavior within organizations is not rare. We investigate experimentally the role of status-seeking behavior in sabotage and cheating activities aiming at improving one's performance ranking in a flat-wage environment. We find that average effort is higher when individuals are informed about their relative performance. However, ranking feedback also favors disreputable behavior. Some individuals do not hesitate to incur a cost to improve their rank by sabotaging others' work or by increasing artificially their own performance. Introducing sabotage opportunities has a strong detrimental effect on performance. Therefore, ranking incentives should be used with care. Inducing group identity discourages sabotage among peers but increases in-group rivalry.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status (preprint)," Working Papers halshs-01090241, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01090241
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01090241
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    Keywords

    Status; ranking; doping; sabotage; feedback; experiment; competitive preferences;
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