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Rank as an Incentive (In-progress Research)

By Ngoc-anh Tran and Richard Zeckhauser


Previous studies have showed that we care for other people’s payoffs for two main reasons: altruism and inequality-aversion. This study focuses on the third reason: social ranking. In a series of lab and field experiments, we demonstrate that participants try to achieve high social ranks. This is found true with and without tangible benefits associated with ranks, indicating a humans ’ inherent preference for high ranks. The evidence presented in this study has practical implications for welfare and motivation in working and learning environments

Year: 2013
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