Peers at work

Alexandre Mas, Enrico Moretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

631 Scopus citations


We study peer effects in the workplace. Specifically, we investigate whether, how, and why the productivity of a worker depends on the productivity of coworkers in the same team. Using high-frequency data on worker productivity from a large supermarket chain, we find strong evidence of positive productivity spillovers from the introduction of highly productive personnel into a shift. Worker effort is positively related to the productivity of workers who see him, but not workers who do not see him. Additionally, workers respond more to the presence of coworkers with whom they frequently interact. We conclude that social pressure can partially internalize free-riding externalities that are built into many workplaces. (JEL J24, L81, M54).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-145
Number of pages34
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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