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Interactions Between Workers and the Technology of Production: Evidence from Professional Baseball

  • Gould, Eric D.

    ()

    (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

  • Winter, Eyal

    ()

    (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

This paper examines how the effort choices of workers within the same firm interact with each other. In contrast to the existing literature, we show that workers can affect the productivity of their co-workers based on income maximization considerations, rather than relying on behavioral considerations such as peer pressure, social norms, and shame. Theoretically, we show that a worker’s effort has a positive effect on the effort of co-workers if they are complements in production, and a negative effect if they are substitutes. The theory is tested using panel data on the performance of baseball players from 1970 to 2003. The empirical analysis shows that a player’s batting average significantly increases with the batting performance of his peers, but decreases with the quality of the team’s pitching. Furthermore, a pitcher’s performance increases with the pitching quality of his teammates, but is unaffected by the batting output of the team. These results are inconsistent with behavioral explanations which predict that shirking by any kind of worker will increase shirking by all fellow workers. The results are consistent with the idea that the effort choices of workers interact in ways that are dependent on the technology of production. These findings are robust to controlling for individual fixed-effects, and to using changes in the composition of one’s co-workers in order to produce exogenous variation in the performance of one’s peers.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3096.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3096.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, February 2009, 91(1), 188–200
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3096
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  1. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
  2. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving To Opportunity In Boston: Early Results Of A Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654, May.
  3. Todd D. Kendall, 2003. "Spillovers, Complementarities, and Sorting in Labor Markets with an Application to Professional Sports," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 389-402, October.
  4. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Desegregation and Black Dropout Rates," NBER Working Papers 8345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter & Åslund, Olof, 2000. "Ethnic enclaves and the economic success of immigrants - evidence from a natural experiment," Working Paper Series 2000:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  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. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  9. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
  10. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment And Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials In A Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090, August.
  11. Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," NBER Working Papers 7469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2006. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 39-58, January.
  13. Eric D. Gould & Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," NBER Working Papers 8741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  16. Mas, Alexandre & Moretti, Enrico, 2006. "Peers at Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2292, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
  19. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Gould, Eric D & Lavy, Victor & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2003. "Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating the Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment on Ethiopians in Israel," CEPR Discussion Papers 4052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Bruce A. Weinberg & Patricia B. Reagan & Jeffrey J. Yankow, 2004. "Do Neighborhoods Affect Hours Worked? Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 891-924, October.
  22. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  23. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2007. "The Long-Run Consequences of Living in a Poor Neighborhood," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt9np9p7m5, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  24. Eyal Winter, 2003. "Incentives and Discrimination," Discussion Paper Series dp313, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  25. Zimmerman, David J., 1999. "Peer Effects in Academic Outcomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-52, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  26. Brian A. Jacob, 2004. "Public Housing, Housing Vouchers, and Student Achievement: Evidence from Public Housing Demolitions in Chicago," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 233-258, March.
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