Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Free-Riding and Performance in Collaborative and Non-Collaborative Groups

Besedes, Tibor and Deck, Cary and Quintanar, Sarah and Sarangi, Sudipta and Shor, Mikhael (2011): Free-Riding and Performance in Collaborative and Non-Collaborative Groups.

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Abstract

Individuals bring effort to a group to achieve a common objective. Group membership introduces a free riding incentive, reducing effort, as well as a social responsibility incentive, increasing effort. This paper shows that the free riding effect is stronger. Individuals significantly reduce their effort as the difficulty of the task increases when they cannot collaborate in the group. Once collaboration is allowed, the negative effects of free riding are not observed. Collaborating groups outperform both groups without collaboration and individuals. They do as well as the best constituent member would have done on her own, thus aggregating existing knowledge.

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