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Looking After Number Two? Competition, Cooperation and Workplace Interaction

Author

Listed:
  • Barmby, Tim

    () (University of Aberdeen)

  • Sessions, John G.

    () (University of Bath)

  • Zangelidis, Alexandros

    () (University of Aberdeen)

Abstract

We build a model of worker interdependence in which two workers can either compete or cooperate and compare performance under either scenario to that of a single worker working in isolation. We show that whilst competition unequivocally reduces performance, cooperation may raise or lower performance. Employing a unique data set in which workgroups are comprised of either one or two workers, we are able to test explicitly for the presence of cooperation. We find empirical support for cooperative behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G. & Zangelidis, Alexandros, 2013. "Looking After Number Two? Competition, Cooperation and Workplace Interaction," IZA Discussion Papers 7803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7803
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090.
    2. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    3. Joshua Herries & Daniel I. Rees & Jeffrey S. Zax, 2003. "Interdependence in worker productivity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 585-604.
    4. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
    5. Giorgio Topa, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 261-295.
    6. Barmby, Tim & Larguem, Makram, 2009. "Coughs and sneezes spread diseases: An empirical study of absenteeism and infectious illness," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 1012-1017, September.
    7. Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G & Treble, John G, 1994. " Absenteeism, Efficiency Wages and Shirking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 561-566.
    8. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-991, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    absence; worker interdependency;

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms

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