IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Do Employees Care About Their Relative Position? Behavioural Evidence Focusing on Performance

Listed author(s):
  • Benno Torgler

    ()

    (QUT)

  • Markus Schaffner

    ()

    (QUT)

  • Sascha L. Schmidt
  • Bruno S.Frey

Do employees care about their relative (economic) position among co-workers in an organization? And if so, does it raise or lower their performance? Behavioral evidence on these important questions is rare. This paper takes a novel approach to answering these questions, working with sports data from two different disciplines, basketball and soccer. These sports tournaments take place in a controlled environment defined by the rules of the game. We find considerable support that positional concerns and envy reduce individual performance. In contrast, there does not seem to be any tolerance for income disparity, based on the hope that such differences signal that better times are under way. Positive behavioral consequences are observed for those who are experiencing better times.

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: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2008/231Torgler.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 231.

as
in new window

Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 16 Jun 2008
Date of revision: 16 Jun 2008
Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:231
Contact details of provider: Postal:
GPO Box 2434, BRISBANE QLD 4001

Web page: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/faculty/economics/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

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. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
  2. Thorstein Veblen, 1899. "Mr. Cummings's Strictures on "The Theory of the Leisure Class"," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8, pages 106-106.
  3. Smith, Adam, 1759. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1759.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  5. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
  6. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
  7. Albert O. Hirschman & Michael Rothschild, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic DevelopmentWith A Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-566.
  8. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-364, June.
  9. Sue Fernie & David Metcalf, 1999. "It's Not What You Pay it's the Way that You Pay it and that's What Gets Results: Jockeys' Pay and Performance," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 13(2), pages 385-411, 06.
  10. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  11. James G. Lynch & Jeffrey S. Zax, 2000. "The Rewards to Running," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(4), pages 323-340, November.
  12. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  13. Bacon, Francis, 1601. "Essays And Counsels, Civil and Moral," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number bacon1601.
  14. Mui, Vai-Lam, 1995. "The economics of envy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 311-336, May.
  15. Idson, Todd L & Kahane, Leo H, 2000. "Team Effects on Compensation: An Application to Salary Determination in the National Hockey League," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(2), pages 345-357, April.
  16. Scully, Gerald W, 1974. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 915-930, December.
  17. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
  18. Hirschman, Albert O., 1973. "The changing tolerance for income inequality in the course of economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 1(12), pages 29-36, December.
  19. Wunder, Christoph & Schwarze, Johannes, 2006. "Income Inequality and Job Satisfaction of Full-Time Employees in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 2084, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
  21. Bruno S. Frey & Margit Osterloh, "undated". "Yes, Managers Should be Paid Like Bureaucrats," IEW - Working Papers 187, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  22. Bruno S. Frey, "undated". "Knight Fever towards an Economics of Awards," IEW - Working Papers 239, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  23. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Happiness: A Revolution in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062771, July.
  24. Orszag, Jonathan M., 1994. "A new look at incentive effects and golf tournaments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 77-88, September.
  25. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  26. Albert Rees, 1992. "The Tournament as a Model for Executive Compensation," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 14(4), pages 567-571, July.
  27. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  28. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-264, April.
  29. Kirchsteiger, Georg, 1994. "The role of envy in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 373-389, December.
  30. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:89-106 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Barry J. Nalebuff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Prices and Incentives: Towards a General Theory of Compensation and Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 21-43, Spring.
  32. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:30-51 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. Michael T. Maloney & Robert E. McCormick, 2000. "The Response of Workers to Wages in Tournaments," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 1(2), pages 99-123, May.
  34. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
  35. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
  36. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  37. Thomas Hoehn & Stefan Szymanski, 1999. "The Americanization of European football," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 203-240, 04.
  38. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  39. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1997. "A Case for Happiness, Cardinalism, and Interpersonal Comparability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1848-1858, November.
  40. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-348, June.
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:qut:dpaper:231. 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: (Angela Fletcher)

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.