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

  • Georganas, Sotiris

    ()

    (Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Tonin, Mirco

    ()

    (University of Southampton)

  • 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.

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

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7523
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  1. Delfgaauw, Josse & Dur, Robert & Sol, Joeri & Verbeke, Willem, 2009. "Tournament Incentives in the Field: Gender Differences in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4395, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bellemare, Charles & Lepage, Patrick & Shearer, Bruce, 2010. "Peer pressure, incentives, and gender: An experimental analysis of motivation in the workplace," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 276-283, January.
  3. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-27, CIRANO.
  4. Tor Eriksson & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence," Post-Print halshs-00451557, HAL.
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  7. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  8. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2011. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," Discussion Papers 2011001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  9. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2004. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000439, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Camerer, Colin, et al, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-41, May.
  12. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2013. "Gender Differences and Dynamics in Competition: The Role of Luck," Discussion Papers 2013001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  13. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Mareike Nossol, 2011. "Tournaments Without Prizes: Evidence from Personnel Records," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(10), pages 1721-1736, October.
  14. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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