Sarah Flèche : sarah.fleche[at]univ-amu.fr
Agnès Tomini : agnes.tomini[at]univ-amu.fr
Relative-performance feedback (RPF) allows one’s own performance to be compared to that of others, for instance via rankings. It is traditionally assumed that RPF affects performance by changing the optimal level of effort, which we call the effort channel. Our first contribution is to propose an alternative way of modelling the effect of RPF on performance, namely the technology channel. “Room for improvement” (i.e. the possibility to improve upon existing technologies) is then a key driver of the relative contributions of the two channels. Our second contribution is to show that the variety of existing empirical results are strikingly easy to understand once room for improvement is taken into account. Our third contribution is to design an experiment in which the differences between the predictions of each channels are made salient. The empirical results provide clear support for the relevance of the technology channel.