IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/oxf/wpaper/783.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

First-place loving and last-place loathing: How rank in the distribution of performance affects effort provision

Author

Listed:
  • David Gill
  • Victoria Prowse
  • Zdenka Kissova
  • Jaesun Lee

Abstract

Rank-order relative-performance evaluation, in which pay, promotion and symbolic awards depend on the rank of workers in the distribution of performance, is ubiquitous. Whenever firms use rank-order relative-performance evaluation, workers receive feedback about their rank. Using a real-effort experiment, we aim to discover whether workers respond to the specific rank that they achieve. In particular, we leverage random variation in the allocation of rank among subjects who exerted the same effort to obtain a causal estimate of the rank response function that describes how effort provision responds to the content of rank-order feedback. We find that the rank response function is U-shaped. Subjects exhibit 'first-place loving' and 'last-place loathing', that is subjects work hardest after being ranked first or last. We discuss implications of our findings for the optimal design of firms' performance feedback policies, workplace organizational structures and incentives schemes.

Suggested Citation

  • David Gill & Victoria Prowse & Zdenka Kissova & Jaesun Lee, 2016. "First-place loving and last-place loathing: How rank in the distribution of performance affects effort provision," Economics Series Working Papers 783, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:783
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/14422/paper-783.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Azmat, Ghazala & Iriberri, Nagore, 2010. "The importance of relative performance feedback information: Evidence from a natural experiment using high school students," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 435-452, August.
    2. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2014. "Gender differences and dynamics in competition: The role of luck," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 351-376, July.
    3. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    4. Carol Propper & Deborah Wilson, 2003. "The Use and Usefulness of Performance Measures in the Public Sector," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 250-267, Summer.
    5. Baker, George P & Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1988. " Compensation and Incentives: Practice vs. Theory," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 593-616, July.
    6. Johannes Abeler & Armin Falk & Lorenz Goette & David Huffman, 2011. "Reference Points and Effort Provision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 470-492, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Christos Genakos & Mario Pagliero, 2012. "Interim Rank, Risk Taking, and Performance in Dynamic Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 782-813.
    9. Aldo Rustichini, 2008. "Dominance and Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 647-656, 04-05.
    10. Ben Greiner, 2015. "Subject pool recruitment procedures: organizing experiments with ORSEE," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 114-125, July.
    11. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    12. Montizaan, Raymond M. & Vendrik, Maarten C.M., 2014. "Misery Loves Company: Exogenous shocks in retirement expectations and social comparison effects on subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 1-26.
    13. Rosaz, Julie & Slonim, Robert & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "Quitting and peer effects at work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 55-67.
    14. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 407-426, April.
    15. 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.
    16. Erlend E. Bø & Joel Slemrod & Thor O. Thoresen, 2015. "Taxes on the Internet: Deterrence Effects of Public Disclosure," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 36-62, February.
    17. Jalava, Nina & Joensen, Juanna Schrøter & Pellas, Elin, 2015. "Grades and rank: Impacts of non-financial incentives on test performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 161-196.
    18. Michael Kosfeld & Susanne Neckermann, 2011. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 86-99, August.
    19. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(1), pages 38-55, January.
    20. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2013. "Team Incentives: Evidence From A Firm Level Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(5), pages 1079-1114, October.
    21. Felix Ebeling & Gerlinde Fellner & Johannes Wahlig, 2012. "Peer Pressure in Multi-Dimensional Work Tasks," Working Paper Series in Economics 57, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    22. Eriksson, Tor & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2009. "Feedback and incentives: Experimental evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 679-688, December.
    23. Sheremeta, Roman M., 2010. "Experimental comparison of multi-stage and one-stage contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 731-747, March.
    24. Tor Eriksson & Lei Mao & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Saving face and group identity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 622-647, September.
    25. Anke Becker & Thomas Deckers & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 453-478, July.
    26. Georganas, Sotiris & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2015. "Peer pressure and productivity: The role of observing and being observed," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 223-232.
    27. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    28. Tran, Anh & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2012. "Rank as an inherent incentive: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 645-650.
    29. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Fliessbach, Klaus & Sunde, Uwe & Weber, Bernd, 2011. "Relative versus absolute income, joy of winning, and gender: Brain imaging evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3-4), pages 279-285, April.
    30. Georganas, Sotiris & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2015. "Peer pressure and productivity: The role of observing and being observed," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 223-232.
    31. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2012. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 469-503, February.
    32. Richard Murphy & Felix Weinhardt, 2014. "Top of the Class: The Importance of Ordinal Rank," CESifo Working Paper Series 4815, CESifo.
    33. Richard B. Freeman & Alexander M. Gelber, 2010. "Prize Structure and Information in Tournaments: Experimental Evidence," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 149-164, January.
    34. Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Lee, Scott S., 2014. "Awards unbundled: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 44-63.
    35. Gill, David & Stone, Rebecca, 2010. "Fairness and desert in tournaments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 346-364, July.
    36. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Mareike Nossol, 2011. "Tournaments Without Prizes: Evidence from Personnel Records," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(10), pages 1721-1736, October.
    37. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    38. Dutcher, E. Glenn & Balafoutas, Loukas & Lindner, Florian & Ryvkin, Dmitry & Sutter, Matthias, 2015. "Strive to be first or avoid being last: An experiment on relative performance incentives," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 39-56.
    39. Andrew E. Clark & Nicolai Kristensen & Niels Westergård-Nielsen, 2009. "Economic Satisfaction and Income Rank in Small Neighbourhoods," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 519-527, 04-05.
    40. Moers, Frank, 2005. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation: the impact of diversity and subjectivity," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-80, January.
    41. Sebastian J. Goerg & Sebastian Kube & Jonas Radbruch, 2019. "The Effectiveness of Incentive Schemes in the Presence of Implicit Effort Costs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(9), pages 4063-4078, September.
    42. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
    43. Haimanti Bhattacharya & Subhasish Dugar, 2012. "Status Incentives and Performance," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(7-8), pages 549-563, October.
    44. repec:hrv:faseco:34310817 is not listed on IDEAS
    45. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status (preprint)," Working Papers halshs-01090241, HAL.
    46. Ryan W. Buell & Taly Reich & Michael I. Norton, 2014. ""Last-Place Aversion": Evidence and Redistributive Implications," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 105-149.
    47. Robert B. Lount & Steffanie L. Wilk, 2014. "Working Harder or Hardly Working? Posting Performance Eliminates Social Loafing and Promotes Social Laboring in Workgroups," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(5), pages 1098-1106, May.
    48. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2013. "Rankings, Random Successes, and Individual Performance," Economics Working Paper Series 1340, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    49. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2016. "Media attention and betting markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 304-333.
    50. Leonie Gerhards & Neele Siemer, 2014. "Private versus Public Feedback - The Incentive Effects of Symbolic Awards," Economics Working Papers 2014-01, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    51. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
    52. Burrows, Paul & Loomes, Graham, 1994. "The Impact of Fairness on Bargaining Behaviour," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 201-221.
    53. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2011. "The Tradeoff Between Performance And Quitting In High Power Tournaments," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 318-336, April.
    54. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2013. "Team incentives: evidence from a firm level," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53141, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    55. Bentley Coffey & M. T. Maloney, 2010. "The Thrill of Victory: Measuring the Incentive to Win," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 87-112, January.
    56. Ghazala Azmat & Nagore Iriberri, 2016. "The Provision of Relative Performance Feedback: An Analysis of Performance and Satisfaction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 77-110, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Relative performance evaluation; Relative performance feedback; Rank order feedback; Dynamic effort provision; Real effort experiment; Flat wage; Fixed wage; Taste for rank; Status seeking; Social esteem; Self esteem; Public feedback; Private feedback.;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:783. 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: (Anne Pouliquen) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Anne Pouliquen to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sfeixuk.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.