Self-Recognition in Teams

43 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2018 Last revised: 19 Apr 2019

See all articles by Joshua S. Gans

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Peter Landry

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Date Written: April 18, 2019


This paper studies an idea we call “(null) self-recognition,” which occurs when a player who was certain that they were a particular type privately discovers that they are in fact some other type. To address unresolved questions as to how players update their beliefs regarding their partner’s type and higher-order beliefs regarding both players’ types after self-recognition, we propose a “sequential reassessment” rule, in which beliefs concerning each player’s type are modified up to a given order. As an initial investigation of its equilibrium consequences, we embed sequential reassessment in a simple model of team production, in which players experience self-recognition when game play begins. Our main result, which applies for team projects with uneven task demands, shows how a player’s decision to work or shirk can depend solely on whether that player’s reassessment of their own type is “deeper” or “shallower” than their reassessment of their partner’s type.

Keywords: behavioural economics, game theory, teams, self-recognition

JEL Classification: D23

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S. and Landry, Peter, Self-Recognition in Teams (April 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Joshua S. Gans (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )



NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Peter Landry

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4

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