Interactions Between Workers and the Technology of Production: Evidence from Professional Baseball

Eric D. Gould and Eyal Winter

This paper shows that workers can affect the productivity of their coworkers based on income maximization considerations, rather than relying on behavioral considerations such as peer pressure, social norms, and shame. We show that a worker's effort has a positive effect on the effort of coworkers if they are complements in production, and a negative effect if they are substitutes. The theory is tested using a panel data set of baseball players from 1970 to 2003. The results are consistent with the idea that the effort choices of workers interact in ways that are dependent on the technology of production.

February, 2009
Published in: 
The Review of Economics and Statistics 91(1), 188–200.