Peers at Work: From the Field to the Lab

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 14-051/I

30 Pages Posted: 2 May 2014

See all articles by Roel van Veldhuizen

Roel van Veldhuizen

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Hessel Oosterbeek

University of Amsterdam - Research Institute in Economics & Econometrics (RESAM); Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Joep Sonnemans

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Date Written: April 29, 2014

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.

Keywords: peer effects, experiment, laboratory experiment

JEL Classification: C91, J24

Suggested Citation

van Veldhuizen, Roel and Oosterbeek, Hessel and Sonnemans, Joep, Peers at Work: From the Field to the Lab (April 29, 2014). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 14-051/I, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2430717 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2430717

Roel Van Veldhuizen (Contact Author)

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

Hessel Oosterbeek

University of Amsterdam - Research Institute in Economics & Econometrics (RESAM) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4242 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5283 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fee.uva.nl/scholar/oosterbeek/

Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA)

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

Joep Sonnemans

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
1018 WB Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4249 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5283 (Fax)

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