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Peers at Work: From the Field to the Lab

Author

Listed:
  • Roel van Veldhuizen

    (WZB Berlin Social Science Center)

  • Hessel Oosterbeek

    (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

  • Joep Sonnemans

    (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Abstract

In an influential study, Mas and Moretti (2009) find that “worker effort is positively related to the productivity of workers who see him, but not workers who do not see him”. They interpret this as evidence that social pressure can reduce free riding. In this paper we report an attempt to reproduce the findings of Mas and Moretti in a lab experiment. Lab experiments have the advantage that they can shut down alternative channels through which workers can influence the productivity of colleagues whom they observe. Although the subjects in our experiment are aware of the productivity of others and although there is sufficient scope for subjects to vary their productivity, we find no evidence of the type of peer effects reported by Mas and Moretti. This suggests that their findings are less generalizable than has been assumed.

Suggested Citation

  • Roel van Veldhuizen & Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans, 2014. "Peers at Work: From the Field to the Lab," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-051/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20140051
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Cahiers de recherche 1320, CIRPEE.
    2. Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 200935, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    3. 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.
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    5. Olivier Armantier & Amadou Boly, 2008. "Can Corruption Be Studied in the Lab? Comparing a Field and a Lab Experiment," CIRANO Working Papers 2008s-26, CIRANO.
    6. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Cahiers de recherche 1320, CIRPEE.
    7. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    8. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Cahiers de recherche 1320, CIRPEE.
    9. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, September.
    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. Onderstal, Sander & Schram, Arthur J.H.C. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2013. "Bidding to give in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 72-85.
    12. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social Networks and Peer Effects at Work," Cahiers de recherche 1320, CIRPEE.
    13. Julie Beugnot & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Social network and peer effects at work," Post-Print halshs-00856053, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beugnot, Julie & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2017. "Gender and Peer Effects in Social Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 10588, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Beugnot, Julie & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2019. "Gender and peer effects on performance in social networks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 207-224.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    peer effects; experiment; laboratory experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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