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Gift giving and worker productivity: Evidence from a firm-level experiment

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  • Bellemare, Charles
  • Shearer, Bruce

Abstract

We present results from a field experiment, designed to measure worker response to a monetary gift from their employer. The experiment took place inside a tree-planting firm paying its workforce incentive contracts. Firm managers told a crew of tree planters they would receive a pay raise for one day as a result of a surplus not attributable to past planting productivity. We compare planter productivity--the number of trees planted per day--on the day the gift was handed out with productivity on previous and subsequent days of planting on the same block, and thus under similar planting conditions. We find direct evidence that the gift had a significant and positive effect on daily planter productivity, controlling for planter-fixed effects, weather conditions and other random daily shocks.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 67 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 233-244

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:67:y:2009:i:1:p:233-244

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

Related research

Keywords: Reciprocity Gift exchange Incentive contracts Field experiments;

References

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  13. Camerer, Colin, et al, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-41, May.
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  16. Simon Gaechter & Armin Falk, . "Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," IEW - Working Papers 019, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  17. Sebastian Kube & Michel Marechal & Puppe Clemens, 2006. "Putting reciprocity to work - positive versus negative responses in the field," Natural Field Experiments 00291, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
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