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Social Comparison and Performance: Evidence from a Randomised Workplace Experiment
Last registered on August 29, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Social Comparison and Performance: Evidence from a Randomised Workplace Experiment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004389
Initial registration date
August 22, 2019
Last updated
August 29, 2019 10:20 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Cambridge
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Cambridge
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-04-01
End date
2020-04-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In this study, we combine literatures on understanding productivity enhancements with behavioural economics to explore whether a foundational insight gained from the latter literature can speak to the former. Specifically, this study will empirically investigate the role of social comparison in affecting the employee’s performance in the context of a bank. In many production processes, output is a function not only of the effect of a single worker, but also of the combined effect of many workers. We attempt to investigate how workers influence each other at workplace. That is, we ask how workers react to the rank incentives compared with the productivity of their co-workers. A local rural and commercial bank in China provides us an ideal laboratory to look into the question. The bank has 83 branches located across the city and employees in each branch work as a group. We randomly select employees to be exposed to performance rankings within the bank through the use of an app on mobile phone. We will examine the effect of the rank incentives on employees’ performance and how different are the effects.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Bao, Helen X.H. and LING LI. 2019. "Social Comparison and Performance: Evidence from a Randomised Workplace Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. August 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4389-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We randomly select workers to be exposed to performance rankings within the bank through the use of a app on mobile phone.
Intervention Start Date
2019-04-01
Intervention End Date
2020-04-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Performance (quantity of task completed)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Wellbeing (happiness measurements)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In the experiment, the branch workers in the bank will be exposed to rank information regarding their updated performance within the quarter randomly. The intervention relies on a mobile app that the bank workers get used to visit almost everyday.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
computer
Randomization Unit
Individual worker
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
#N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
800
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
400
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Cambridge
IRB Approval Date
2018-03-16
IRB Approval Number
N/A