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Competitive Preferences and Status as an Incentive: Experimental Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Charness, Gary

    () (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Masclet, David

    () (University of Rennes)

  • Villeval, Marie Claire

    () (CNRS, GATE)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate individuals' investment in status in an environment where no monetary return can possibly be derived from reaching a better relative position. We use a real-effort experiment in which we permit individuals to learn and potentially improve their status (rank). We find that people express both intrinsic motivation and a taste for status. Indeed, people increase their effort when they are simply informed about their relative performance, and people pay both to sabotage others’ output and to artificially increase their own relative performance. In addition, stronger group identity favors positive rivalry and discourages sabotage among peers.

Suggested Citation

  • Charness, Gary & Masclet, David & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2010. "Competitive Preferences and Status as an Incentive: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 5034, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5034
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Patricia Funk, 2010. "Social Incentives and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the Swiss Mail Ballot System," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1077-1103, September.
    2. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin & Andrea Moro, 2004. "The Performance of the Pivotal-Voter Model in Small-Scale Elections: Evidence from Texas Liquor Referenda," NBER Working Papers 10797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eriksson, Tor & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Respect and relational contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 286-298.
    2. Tran, Anh & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2012. "Rank as an inherent incentive: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 645-650.
    3. Dessi, Roberta & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa, 2013. "When to Pay More: Incentives, Culture and Status in Principal‐ Agent Interactions," IDEI Working Papers 781, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    4. Kamphorst, Jurjen J.A. & Swank, Otto H., 2013. "When Galatea cares about her reputation: How having faith in your workers reduces their motivation to shine," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 91-104.
    5. Kairies-Schwarz, Nadja & Krieger, Miriam, 2014. "How do Non-Monetary Performance Incentives for Physicians Affect the Quality of Medical Care? A Laboratory Experiment," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100583, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9485-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González & Stephen Rassenti, 2011. "Real Effort, Real Leisure and Real-time Supervision: Incentives and Peer Pressure in Virtual Organizations," Working Papers 11-05, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    8. Rustichini, Aldo & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "Moral hypocrisy, power and social preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 10-24.
    9. Nadja Kairies & Miriam Krieger, 2013. "How do Non-Monetary Performance Incentives for Physicians Affect the Quality of Medical Care? – A Laboratory Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0414, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Kairies, Nadja & Krieger, Miriam, 2013. "How do Non-Monetary Performance Incentives for Physicians Affect the Quality of Medical Care? – A Laboratory Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 414, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    11. repec:zbw:rwirep:0414 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Loukas Balafoutas & Florian Lindner & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 425-441, November.
    13. Ertac, Seda & Koçkesen, Levent & Ozdemir, Duygu, 2016. "The role of verifiability and privacy in the strategic provision of performance feedback: Theory and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 24-45.
    14. Peter Kuhn & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2011. "Do Women Prefer a Co-operative Work Environment?," Working Papers 1127, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    15. Corgnet, Brice & Hernán-González, Roberto & Rassenti, Stephen, 2015. "Firing threats: Incentive effects and impression management," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 97-113.
    16. Seda Ertac & Mert Gumren & Levent Kockesen, 2017. "Strategic Feedback in Teams: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1714, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    17. Yola Engler & Lionel Page, 2017. "Driving a Hard Bargain is a Balancing Act: How social preferences constrain the negotiation process," QuBE Working Papers 051, QUT Business School.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiment; competitive preferences; status seeking; rank;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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