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American Economic Review: Vol. 99 No. 3 (June 2009)

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Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory

Article Citation

Charness, Gary, and Marie-Claire Villeval. 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory." American Economic Review, 99(3): 956-78.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.3.956

Abstract

There is economic pressure to postpone the retirement age, but employers are still reluctant to employ older workers. We investigate the comparative behavior of juniors and seniors in experiments conducted both onsite with the employees of two large firms and in a conventional laboratory environment with students and retirees. We show that seniors are no more risk averse than juniors and are typically more cooperative; both juniors and working seniors respond strongly to competition. The implication is that it may be beneficial to define additional incentives near the end of the career to motivate and retain older workers. (JEL C90, J14, J26, M12, M51)

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Authors

Charness, Gary (U CA, Santa Barbara)
Villeval, Marie-Claire (U Lyon-GATE and IZA, Bonn)

JEL Classifications

C90: Design of Experiments: General
J14: Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped
J26: Retirement; Retirement Policies
M12: Personnel Management; Executive Compensation
M51: Personnel Economics: Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions


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