We present the first causal evidence on the persistent impact of enduring competition on prosociality. Inspired by the literature on tournaments within firms, which shows that competitive compensation schemes reduce cooperation in the short-run, we explore if enduring exposure to a competitive environment persistently attenuates prosociality. Based on a large-scale randomized intervention in the education context, we find lower levels of prosociality for students who just experienced a 2-year competition period. 4-year follow-up data indicate that the effect persists and generalizes, suggesting a change in traits and not only in behavior.
First version, November 2023
D74: Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
D910: Micro-Based Behavioral Economics, Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity