Experimental evidence on peer effects in the workplace

Small Fund Research Project & [ARCHIVE DISPLAY]
Eric Chyn

Economists have studied peer effects in a variety of contexts ranging from education to social programs. However, relatively few papers have examined peer effects in the workplace, where workers may influence each other by motivating each other, providing knowledge, or creating a work culture that favors higher effort. Research on workplace peer effects in developing countries is even more limited, with only a few recent papers having explored the topic. In this study, my coauthors and I have partnered with a large tea firm in Malawi to conduct an experiment in which workers are randomly assigned to plots within fields. Random assignment allows us to estimate peer effects on both worker productivity and absence rates. In addition to estimating peer effects on attendance and output, we also collect survey data in order to conduct several novel empirical tests to shed light on the mechanisms driving our estimates.

Funding:
Eva L. Mueller New Directions in Economics and Demography Fund

Funding Period: 03/01/2015 to 02/29/2016

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