Splash with a Teammate: Peer Effects in High Stakes Tournaments

In a recent paper Lingqing Jiang, who joined the Department of Economics this term, investigates peer effects among elite swimmers.

  • Date

    Thu 30 Nov 17

Lingqing Jiang

Lingqing obtained her PhD from the University of Lausanne in August 2017. Her research interests are in behavioural economics and applied economics. She has a particular focus on peer effects and social interaction.

She will teaching undergraduate modules in both Applied Economics and Economics of Organisational Management during the year.

Peer effects refer to the changes in our behaviour when we are with our peer group. For example, organising work routines differently so as to exploit positive peer effects can be a way of boosting productivity in the workplace.

In her paper Lingqing explains that peer effects are stronger for women than men, improving the performance of women but making little difference for men. Surprisingly, there was little difference across nationalities in the operation of peer effects. Her work is part of a small but growing set of papers using sporting events as a crucible for studying behaviour in a highly controlled setting.   

Peer effects have been studied before by economists, including former Essex economist Iwan Barankay, who undertook studies of peer effects among farm workers on fixed payment schemes. He found in this low-skill context that productivity improved when a worker was paired with someone of a higher skill level.   

Read Lingqing's paper