Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2014:2: Gender differences in shirking: monitoring or social preferences? Evidence from a field experiment

Per Johansson (), Arizo Karimi () and J Peter Nilsson ()
Additional contact information
Per Johansson: Uppsala Center for Labor Studies, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Arizo Karimi: Uppsala Center for Labor Studies, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
J Peter Nilsson: Uppsala Center for Labor Studies, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: This paper studies gender differences in the extent to which social preferences affect workers’ shirking decisions. Using exogenous variation in work absence induced by a randomized field experiment that increased treated workers’ absence, we find that also non-treated workers increased their absence as a response. Furthermore, we find that male workers react more strongly to decreased monitoring, but no significant gender difference in the extent to which workers are influenced by peers. However, our results suggest significant heterogeneity in the degree of influence that male and female workers exert on each other: conditional on the potential exposure to same-sex co-workers, men are only affected by their male peers, and women are only affected by their female peers.

Keywords: Peer effects; employer-employee data; social preferences; randomized field experiment

JEL-codes: C23; C93; J24

27 pages, April 28, 2014

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