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Clean Evidence on Peer Pressure

  • Falk, Armin

    ()

    (University of Bonn)

  • Ichino, Andrea

    ()

    (European University Institute)

While confounding factors typically jeopardize the possibility to use observational data to measure peer effects, field experiments offer the possibility to obtain clean evidence. In this paper we measure the output of four randomly selected groups of individuals who were asked to fill letters in envelopes, with a remuneration completely independent of output. For two of these groups the output of peers was exogenously manipulated (low or high) by making individuals aware of the number of letters previously produced by artificial colleagues. In the third group individuals were set up to work one in front of the other, while the fourth group gave the baseline output for independent not manipulated work. Our first finding is that effort of the less productive workers reacts in a sizeable and statistically significant way to peer pressure. Second, there is strong evidence of peer effects when individuals work in pairs. Third, these peer effects work in the direction of making the least productive individuals work harder, thereby increasing overall productivity.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 732.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2006, 24 (1), 39-57
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp732
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  1. 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.
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  10. Daniel Aaronson, 1996. "Using sibling data to estimate the impact of neighborhoods on children' s educational outcomes," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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  14. 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.
  15. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  16. 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.
  17. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1985. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 85-21, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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