Competitive Work Environments and Social Preferences: Field Experimental Evidence from a Japanese Fishing Community

27 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2005

See all articles by Erika Seki

Erika Seki

Osaka University - Graduate School of Economics

Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Middlebury College - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

Models of job tournaments and competitive workplaces more generally predict that while individual effort may increase as competition intensifies between workers, the incentive for workers to cooperate with each other diminishes. We report on a field experiment conducted with workers from a fishing community in Toyama Bay, Japan. Our participants are employed in three different aspects of fishing. The first group are fishermen, the second group are fish wholesalers (or traders), and the third group are staff at the local fishing coop. Although our participants have much in common (e.g., their common relationship to the local fishery and the fact that they all live in the same community), we argue that they are exposed to different amounts of competition on-the-job and that these differences explain differences in cooperation in our experiment. Specifically, fishermen and traders, who interact in more competitive environments are significantly less cooperative than the coop staff who face little competition on the job. Further, after accounting for the possibility of personality-based selection, perceptions of competition faced on-the-job and the treatment effect of job incentives explain these differences in cooperation to a large extent.

Keywords: field experiment, cooperation, social disapproval, social preference, competition, Japan, fishing

JEL Classification: C90, C93, H41, M54, Z13

Suggested Citation

Seki, Erika and Carpenter, Jeffrey P., Competitive Work Environments and Social Preferences: Field Experimental Evidence from a Japanese Fishing Community (July 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1691. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=774007

Erika Seki

Osaka University - Graduate School of Economics ( email )

1-7 Machikaneyama
Toyonaka, Osaka, 560-0043
Japan

Jeffrey P. Carpenter (Contact Author)

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Munroe Hall
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States
802-443-3241 (Phone)
802-443-2084 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://community.middlebury.edu/~jcarpent/index.ht

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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