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Peer effects on perseverance

Berno Buechel, Lydia Mechtenberg and Julia Petersen
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Berno Büchel ()

No 488, FSES Working Papers from Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland

Abstract: Successful performance – be it in school, at the job, or in sports activities – requires perseverance, i.e., persistent work on a demanding task. We investigate in a controlled laboratory experiment how an individual’s social environment affects perseverance. We find evidence for two kinds of peer effects: being observed by a peer can serve as a commitment device, while observing a peer can be informative. In particular, we show that successful peers affect perseverance positively if they communicate their success in a motivating way and negatively otherwise, while perseverance is unaffected by unsuccessful peers. Our experimental results suggest that peers affect perseverance indirectly, via influencing self-confidence. We turn to field data from an educational setting and find that students seem to be able to harness the power of peer effects, by selecting into groups that help them reach their goals.

Keywords: Self-control; Peer Effects; Social Networks; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D90 I21 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-edu, nep-exp, nep-hrm, nep-soc and nep-ure
Date: 2017-09-16
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