Learning Unethical Practices from a Co-Worker: The Peer Effect of Jose Canseco

36 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008  

Eric D. Gould

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Todd R. Kaplan

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics; University of Haifa - Department of Economics

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Abstract

This paper examines the issue of whether workers learn productive skills from their co-workers, even if those skills are unethical. Specifically, we estimate whether Jose Canseco, one of the best baseball players in the last few decades, affected the performance of his teammates. In his autobiography, Canseco claims that he improved the productivity of his teammates by introducing them to steroids. Using panel data on baseball players, we show that a player's performance increases significantly after they played with Jose Canseco. After checking 30 comparable players from the same era, we find that no other baseball player produced a similar effect. Clearly, Jose Canseco had an unusual influence on the productivity of his peers. These results are consistent with Canseco's controversial claims, and suggest that workers not only learn productive skills from their co-workers, but sometimes those skills may derive from unethical practices. These findings may be relevant to many workplaces where competitive pressures create incentives to adopt unethical means to boost productivity and profits.

Keywords: peer effects, corruption, crime, externalities

JEL Classification: J24

Suggested Citation

Gould, Eric D. and Kaplan, Todd R., Learning Unethical Practices from a Co-Worker: The Peer Effect of Jose Canseco. , Vol. , pp. -, . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1135904 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Eric D. Gould (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3247 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: https://sites.google.com/site/edgould

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Todd R. Kaplan

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Streatham Court
Exeter, EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom
+44 13 9226 3237 (Phone)

University of Haifa - Department of Economics

Haifa 31905
Israel

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