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The Role of Task Meaning on Output in Groups: Experimental Evidence

  • Agnes Baeker


  • Mario Mechtel


    (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the EU, University of Trier)

This paper analyzes experimentally how the interaction of task meaning and peer presence affects work effort. We build on the experimental designs of Falk and Ichino (2006) and Ariely et al. (2008). Confirming previous results from the literature, we find positive peer effects and negative effects of low task meaning. In addition, we find that peer effects are even stronger if task meaning is low. We conclude that a peer setting is able to overcome the negative effort effect of low task meaning.

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Paper provided by Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU) in its series IAAEU Discussion Papers with number 201308.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:iaa:dpaper:201308
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  1. Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Peers at Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 5870, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2012. "The Good, the Bad, and the Average: Evidence on Ability Peer Effects in Schools," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 367 - 414.
  3. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 2000. "Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 353-76, July.
  4. Ariely, Dan & Kamenica, Emir & Prelec, Drazen, 2008. "Man's search for meaning: The case of Legos," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 671-677, September.
  5. Salvador Contreras & Frank Badua & Mitchell Adrian, 2012. "Peer Effects on Undergraduate Business Student Performance," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 11(1), pages 57-66.
  6. Kim, Taejong & Lee, Ju-Ho & Lee, Young, 2008. "Mixing versus sorting in schooling: Evidence from the equalization policy in South Korea," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 697-711, December.
  7. Foster, Gigi, 2006. "It's not your peers, and it's not your friends: Some progress toward understanding the educational peer effect mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1455-1475, September.
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