| HBS Working Paper Series
Competition and Social Identity in the Workplace: Evidence from a Chinese Textile Firm
We study the impact of social identity on worker competition by exploiting the exogenous variations in workers' origins and the well-documented social divide between urban resident workers and rural migrant workers in large urban Chinese firms. We collect data on weekly output, individual characteristics, and co-worker composition for all weavers in an urban Chinese textile firm between April 2003 and March 2004. The firm's relative performance incentive scheme rewards a worker for outperforming her co-workers. We find that a worker does not act on the monetary incentives to outperform co-workers who share the same social identity, but does aggressively compete against co-workers with a different social identity. Our results highlight the important role of social identity in overcoming self-interest and enhancing inter-group competitions.
Motivation and Incentives;