Overachieving and obsessive behavior as signaling devices under career concern

Alexander Rodivilov, Dongsoo Shin, Xiaojian Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper provides an economic rationale for overachieving behavior in nonprofessional activities in the labor market. The intrinsically motivated worker uses his achievement in nonprofessional activity to signal his work ethic. When the worker's career concern is weak, he exerts no extra effort on nonprofessional activity. When the worker's career concern is strong, however, his effort level for the nonprofessional activity can go beyond the bliss point. With a very strong career concern, an obsessive behavior can arise in equilibrium, as the intrinsically motivated worker may choose to sacrifice the professional activity for the nonprofessional one in an earlier stage of his career.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-331
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • career concern
  • obsession
  • overachievement
  • signaling

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