Signaling and Discrimination in Collaborative Projects

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We study collaborative work in pairs when potential collaborators are motivated by the reputational implications of (joint or solo) proj-ects. In equilibrium, individual collaboration strategies both influ-ence and are influenced by the public assignment of credit for joint work across the two partners. We investigate the fragility of collabo-ration to small biases in the public's credit assignment. When collab-orators are symmetric, symmetric equilibria are often fragile, and in nonfragile equilibria individuals receive asymmetric collaborative credit based on payoff-irrelevant "identities." We study payoff dis-tributions across identities within asymmetric equilibria, and com-pare aggregate welfare across symmetric and asymmetric equilibria. (JEL A11, D82, I23)


American Economic Review