IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Peer Pressure and Productivity: The Role of Observing and Being Observed

  • Georganas, Sotiris


    (Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Tonin, Mirco


    (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)

  • Vlassopoulos, Michael


    (University of Southampton)

Peer effects arise in situations where workers observe each other's work activity. In this paper we disentangle the effect of observing a peer from that of being observed by a peer, by setting up a real effort experiment in which we manipulate the observability of performance. In particular, we randomize subjects into three groups: in the first one subjects are observed by another subject, but do not observe anybody; in the second one subjects observe somebody else's performance, but are not observed by anybody; in the last group subjects work in isolation, neither observing, nor being observed. We consider both a piece rate compensation scheme, where pay depends solely on own performance, and a team compensation scheme, where pay also depends on the performance of other team members. Overall, we find some evidence that subjects who are observed increase productivity at least initially when compensation is team based, while we find that subjects observing react to what they see in a non-linear but monotonic way when compensation is based only on own performance.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7523.

in new window

Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2015, 117, 223-232.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7523
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Eriksson, Tor & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2008. "Feedback and Incentives: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Working Papers halshs-00855047, HAL.
  3. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán González & Stephen Rassenti, 2013. "Peer Pressure and Moral Hazard in Teams: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 13-01, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2007. "Do Workers Work More if Wages Are High? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 298-317, March.
  5. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Joeri Sol & Willem Verbeke, 2013. "Tournament Incentives in the Field: Gender Differences in the Workplace," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 305 - 326.
  7. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
  8. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2011. "Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck," Economics Series Working Papers 564, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  10. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2004. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000439, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. Victoria Prowse & David Gill, 2009. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," Economics Series Working Papers 448, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Charles Bellemare & Patrick Lepage & Bruce Shearer, 2009. "Peer Pressure, Incentives, and Gender: an Experimental Analysis of Motivation in the Workplace," Cahiers de recherche 0901, CIRPEE.
  13. Philip Babcock & Kelly Bedard & Gary Charness & John Hartman & Heather Royer, 2011. "Letting Down the Team? Evidence of Social Effects of Team Incentives," NBER Working Papers 16687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria, 2011. "A novel computerized real effort task based on sliders," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1101, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  15. Camerer, Colin & Babcock, Linda & Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard, 1996. "Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers: One Day At A time," Working Papers 960, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  16. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  17. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Mareike Nossol, 2011. "Tournaments Without Prizes: Evidence from Personnel Records," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(10), pages 1721-1736, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7523. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.