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Letting Down the Team? Evidence of Social Effects of Team Incentives

Author

Listed:
  • Philip Babcock
  • Kelly Bedard
  • Gary Charness
  • John Hartman
  • Heather Royer

Abstract

This paper estimates social effects of incentivizing people in teams. In two field experiments featuring exogenous team formation and opportunities for repeated social interactions, we find large team effects that operate through social channels. The team compensation system induced agents to choose effort as if they valued a marginal dollar of compensation for their teammate from two-thirds as much (in one study) to twice as much as they valued a dollar of their own compensation (in the other study). We conclude that social effects of monetary team incentives exist and can induce effort at lower cost than through direct individual payment.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16687
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    Cited by:

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    2. Gordon B. Dahl & Katrine V. L?ken & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Peer Effects in Program Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2049-2074, July.
    3. De Paola, Maria & Gioia, Francesca & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2019. "Free-riding and knowledge spillovers in teams: The role of social ties," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 74-90.
    4. 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.
    5. Thomas Cornelissen & Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2017. "Peer Effects in the Workplace," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 425-456, February.
    6. Gill, David & Stone, Rebecca, 2015. "Desert and inequity aversion in teams," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 42-54.
    7. Kenju Kamei, 2019. "The power of joint decision-making in a finitely-repeated dilemma," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 600-622.
    8. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Kuhn, Michael A., 2013. "Experimental methods: Extra-laboratory experiments-extending the reach of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 93-100.
    9. Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2015. "Are Women More Attracted to Co‐operation Than Men?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(582), pages 115-140, February.
    10. Aakvik, Arild & Hansen, Frank & Torsvik, Gaute, 2013. "Dynamic Peer Effects in Sales Teams," Working Papers in Economics 10/13, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    11. Gaute Torsvik, 2017. "Workplace Productivity and Bonus Preferences: Why Do Men With Low Productivity Prefer Individual Pay?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(335), pages 498-515, July.
    12. Heather Royer & Mark Stehr & Justin Sydnor, 2015. "Incentives, Commitments, and Habit Formation in Exercise: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Workers at a Fortune-500 Company," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-84, July.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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