August 2022

IZA DP No. 15512: Measuring "Group Cohesion" to Reveal the Power of Social Relationships in Team Production

revised version published online as 'Measuring 'Group Cohesion' to Reveal the Power of Social Relationships in Team Production' in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 06 February 2023

We introduce "group cohesion" to study the economic relevance of social relationships in team production. We operationalize measurement of group cohesion, adapting the "oneness scale" from psychology. A series of experiments, including a pre-registered replication, reveals strong positive associations between group cohesion and performance assessed in weak-link coordination games, with high-cohesion groups being very likely to achieve superior equilibria. In exploratory analysis, we identify beliefs rather than social preferences as the primary mechanism through which factors proxied by group cohesion influence group performance. Our evidence provides proof-of-concept for group cohesion as a useful tool for economic research and practice.