Competitive Preferences and Status as an Incentive: Experimental Evidence

Posted: 1 Feb 2011

See all articles by Gary Charness

Gary Charness

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

David Masclet

Université de Rennes I; M@rsouin

Marie Claire Villeval

Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), CNRS; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Global Labor Organization (GLO)

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Date Written: January 31, 2011

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate individuals’ investment in status in an environment where no monetary return can possibly be derived from reaching a better relative position. We use a real-effort experiment in which we permit individuals to learn and potentially improve their relative position in terms of performance. We find that people express a taste for status. People increase their effort when they are informed about their relative performance, and some individuals pay to sabotage others’ output or to artificially increase their own performance although they are paid a flat wage. Introducing the opportunity to sabotage others’ output exerts a negative effect on performance. Such effects can be alleviated by inducing group identity that favors positive rivalry but discourages sabotage among peers.

Keywords: Status seeking, rank, competitive preferences, experiment

JEL Classification: C91, C92, M54, D63, J28, J31

Suggested Citation

Charness, Gary and Masclet, David and Villeval, Marie Claire, Competitive Preferences and Status as an Incentive: Experimental Evidence (January 31, 2011). CIRANO - Scientific Publications 2011s-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1752213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1752213

Gary Charness

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States
805-893-2412 (Phone)
805-893-8830 (Fax)

David Masclet (Contact Author)

Université de Rennes I ( email )

11 Rue Jean Macé
35065 Rennes Cedex, Rennes
France

M@rsouin ( email )

France

Marie Claire Villeval

Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), CNRS ( email )

93, chemin des Mouilles
Ecully, 69130
France
+33 472 86 60 79 (Phone)
+33 472 86 60 90 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.gate.cnrs.fr/equipe/perso/villeval/villeval.html

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Collogne
Germany

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