Social Comparison and Performance: Evidence from a Randomised Workplace Experiment

Last registered on March 21, 2020

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
March 21, 2020, 6:43 AM EDT

Locations

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
2021-04-01
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. 2020. "Social Comparison and Performance: Evidence from a Randomised Workplace Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. March 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4389-2.0
Sponsors & Partners

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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
2021-04-01

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
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

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials