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

Posted: 5 Aug 2010

See all articles by Eric D. Gould

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

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 3, 2010

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, a star baseball player in the late 1980's and 1990's, affected the performance of his teammates by introducing them to steroids. Using panel data, 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. Furthermore, the positive effect of Canseco disappears after 2003, the year that drug testing was implemented. These results 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. Our analysis leads to several potential policy implications designed to reduce the spread of unethical behavior among workers.

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 (August 3, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1652955

Eric D. Gould

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)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Todd R. Kaplan (Contact Author)

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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