Free-Riding and Knowledge Spillovers in Teams: The Role of Social Ties

27 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2016

See all articles by Maria De Paola

Maria De Paola

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Francesca Gioia

Università degli Studi della Calabria

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Abstract

We investigate whether and how social ties affect performance in teams by implementing a field experiment in which a sample of undergraduate students are randomly assigned to either teams composed by friends or teams composed by individuals not linked by friendship relationships. Students undertake an intermediate exam divided into two parts: one graded on the basis of individual performance and the other graded on the basis of the team performance. We find that students assigned to socially connected teams perform significantly better than control students in both the team part and the individual part of the exam, suggesting that social ties are relevant both for solving free-riding problems and for inducing knowledge spillovers among teammates. The positive effect of friendship persists over time: treated students obtain better grades also in a second individual test after the conclusion of the experiment.

Keywords: team, free-riding, knowledge spillover, social ties, randomized field experiment

JEL Classification: J33, J24, D82, D86, L14, C93

Suggested Citation

De Paola, Maria and Gioia, Francesca and Scoppa, Vincenzo, Free-Riding and Knowledge Spillovers in Teams: The Role of Social Ties. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10257. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2849742

Maria De Paola (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

Francesca Gioia

Università degli Studi della Calabria

Ponte Bucci, Cubo 3C
Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

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