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Team incentives: evidence from a firm level

Bandiera, Oriana and Barankay, Iwan and Rasul, Imran (2013) Team incentives: evidence from a firm level. Journal of the European Economic Association, 11 (5). pp. 1079-1114. ISSN 1542-4766

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Identification Number: 10.1111/jeea.12028

Abstract

Many organizations rely on teamwork, and yet field evidence on the impacts of team-based incentives remains scarce. Compared to individual incentives, team incentives can affect productivity by changing both workers’ effort and team composition. We present evidence from a field experiment designed to evaluate the impact of rank incentives and tournaments on the productivity and composition of teams. Strengthening incentives, either through rankings or tournaments, makes workers more likely to form teams with others of similar ability instead of with their friends. Introducing rank incentives however reduces average productivity by 14%, whereas introducing a tournament increases it by 24%. Both effects are heterogeneous: rank incentives only reduce the productivity of teams at the bottom of the productivity distribution, and monetary prize tournaments only increase the productivity of teams at the top. We interpret these results through a theoretical framework that makes precise when the provision of team-based incentives crowds out the productivity-enhancing effect of social connections under team production.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/jeea
Additional Information: © 2013 European Economic Association
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Economics
Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 08:31
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2014 09:40
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/53141

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