Because of You I Did Not Give Up - How Peers Affect Perseverance

33 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2016 Last revised: 22 Dec 2020

See all articles by Leonie Gerhards

Leonie Gerhards

University of Hamburg - Department of Economics

Christina Annette Gravert

University of Copenhagen

Date Written: August 1, 2016

Abstract

Various empirical papers have shown that peers affect productivity and behavior in the workplace. However, the mechanisms through which peers influence each other are still largely unknown. In this laboratory experiment we study a situation in which individuals might look at their peers' behavior to motivate themselves to endure in a task that requires perseverance. We test the impact of unidirectional peer effects under individual monetary incentives, controlling for ability and tactics. We find that peers significantly increase their observers' perseverance, while knowing about being observed does not significantly affect behavior. In a second experiment we investigate the motives to self-select into the role of an observing or an observant subject and what kind of peers individuals deliberately choose. Our findings provide first insights on the perception of peer situations by individuals and new empirical evidence on how peer groups emerge.

Keywords: grit, perseverance, laboratory experiment, peer effects, real effort

JEL Classification: C91, D03, M50, J24

Suggested Citation

Gerhards, Leonie and Gravert, Christina Annette, Because of You I Did Not Give Up - How Peers Affect Perseverance (August 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2788589 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2788589

Leonie Gerhards

University of Hamburg - Department of Economics ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
room 2060
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Christina Annette Gravert (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, DK-1165
Denmark

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