Université de Fribourg

Peer effects on perseverance

Buechel, Berno ; Mechtenberg, Lydia ; Petersen, Julia

(Working Papers SES ; 488)

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...

Université de Fribourg

The strength of weak leaders - an experiment on social influence and social learning in teams

Buechel, Berno

(Working Papers SES ; 486)

We investigate how the selection process of a leader affects team performance with respect to social learning. We use a lab experiment in which an incentivized guessing task is repeated in a star network with the leader at the center. Leader selection is either based on competence, on self-confidence, or made at random. Teams with random leaders do not underperform compared to rather competent...

Université de Fribourg

The swing voter's curse in social networks

Buechel, Berno ; Mechtenberg, Lydia

(Working Papers SES ; 485)

We study private communication in social networks prior to a majority vote on two alternative policies. Some (or all) agents receive a private imperfect signal about which policy is correct. They can, but need not, recommend a policy to their neighbors in the social network prior to the vote. We show theoretically and empirically that communication can undermine efficiency of the vote and hence...