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Free-Riding and Knowledge Spillovers in Teams: The Role of Social Ties

Author

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  • De Paola, Maria

    () (University of Calabria)

  • Gioia, Francesca

    () (University of Edinburgh)

  • Scoppa, Vincenzo

    () (University of Calabria)

Abstract

We investigate whether and how social ties affect performance in teams by implementing a field experiment in which a sample of undergraduate students are randomly assigned to either teams composed by friends or teams composed by individuals not linked by friendship relationships. Students undertake an intermediate exam divided into two parts: one graded on the basis of individual performance and the other graded on the basis of the team performance. We find that students assigned to socially connected teams perform significantly better than control students in both the team part and the individual part of the exam, suggesting that social ties are relevant both for solving free-riding problems and for inducing knowledge spillovers among teammates. The positive effect of friendship persists over time: treated students obtain better grades also in a second individual test after the conclusion of the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • De Paola, Maria & Gioia, Francesca & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2016. "Free-Riding and Knowledge Spillovers in Teams: The Role of Social Ties," IZA Discussion Papers 10257, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10257
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    Cited by:

    1. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Okemena Onemu & Joeri Sol, 2019. "Team Incentives, Social Cohesion, and Performance: A Natural Field Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-045/VII, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    randomized field experiment; social ties; knowledge spillover; free-riding; team;

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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