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Wage inequality and team production: An experimental analysis

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  • Bartling, Björn
  • von Siemens, Ferdinand A.

Abstract

Numerous survey studies report that human resource managers curb wage inequality with the intent to avoid detrimental effects on workers' morale. However, there exists little controlled empirical evidence demonstrating that horizontal social comparisons and wage inequality have adverse effects on worker behavior. In this paper, we present data from a laboratory experiment that studies the impact of wage inequality on participation and effort choices in team production. Overall, we do not find evidence that wage inequality has a significant impact on either participation or effort choices.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:1:p:1-16

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

Related research

Keywords: Wage inequality Team production Social comparisons Wage compression Worker morale;

References

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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
  3. Pedro Rey Biel, 2004. "Inequity aversion and team incentives," Microeconomics 0407009, EconWPA.
  4. Bartling, Björn & Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2006. "The Intensity of Incentives in Firms and Markets: Moral Hazard with Envious Agents," Discussion Papers in Economics 913, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Clark, Andrew E. & Masclet, David & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2006. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet & Carsten Helm, 2004. "Output and Wages with Inequality Averse Agents," Cahiers de recherche 0419, CIRPEE.
  7. Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn, 2007. "Does Pay Inequality Affect Worker Effort? Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 693-723.
  8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  9. Werner Güth & Manfred Königstein & Judit Kovács & Enikõ Zala-Mezõ, 2001. "Fairness Within Firms: The Case Of One Principal And Multiple Agents," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 53(2), pages 82-101, April.
  10. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
  11. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  12. Björn Bartling & Ferdinand A. von Siemens, 2010. "Equal Sharing Rules in Partnerships," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 299-320, June.
  13. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1989. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," NBER Working Papers 3105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  15. Hideshi Itoh, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Other-Regarding Preferences," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 18-45.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Leif Brandes & Egon Franck, . "Social Preferences or Personal Career Concerns? Field Evidence on Positive and Negative Reciprocity in the Workplace," Working Papers 0134, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  2. Daniele Nosenzo, 2013. "Pay Secrecy And Effort Provision," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1779-1794, 07.
  3. Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco & Pérez, José María, 2013. "Social Comparisons in Wage Delegation: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7802, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. David Card & Alex Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," Working Papers 1269, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Jona Linde & Joep Sonnemans, 2012. "Social Preferences in Private Decisions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-003/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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