11
Nov
14

Social Comparison and Peer effects with Heterogeneous Ability

http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcrem.univ-rennes1.fr%2Fwp%2F2014%2F201411.pdf&embedded=true

Abstract: Whether and how the observability of a coworker’s effort influences an employer’s wage decisions and workers’ effort decisions is a central issue for labor organizations. We conduct an experiment using a three-person gift-exchange game to investigate this matter in the context of wage transparency and heterogeneous abilities. We find that showing a coworker’s effort increases both wages and the difference in wages between two heterogeneously skilled workers when the more able worker is observed. The knowledge of a coworker’s effort increases the level of reciprocity exhibited by observed workers (peer effects), whereas it reduces that exhibited by workers who are observers. Overall, displaying coworker’s effort has a beneficial effect on reciprocity. Regardless of their ability, workers exert levels of effort that are positively related to those of their coworkers. This strategic complementarity of efforts is partially explained by inequity aversion.

Source: crem.univ-rennes1.fr

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