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Attribution And Reciprocity In An Experimental Labor Market

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  • Charness, Gary B

Abstract

Papers such as Akerlof and Yellen (1990) and Rabin (1993) argue that considerations such as fairness and reciprocity are important in individual decision-making. The gift-exchange game (Fehr, Kirchsteiger & Reidl, 1993, and many others) has established that, in the laboratory, higher wages offered by an employer lead to considerably more costly effort provision. However, it is unclear whether this behavior reflects reciprocity or other forms of social preferences. This paper tests whether attribution of volition in choosing a wage has a significant effect on subsequent costly effort provision. Treatments varied whether wages were chosen by the employer or by an external process. We see that both distributional concerns and reciprocity play a major role. The data are examined in the light of recent utility models.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt8rp6b18c.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt8rp6b18c

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Keywords: Attribution; reciprocity; gift-exchange; intention; social;

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  1. Bolton, Gary E, 1991. "A Comparative Model of Bargaining: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1096-136, December.
  2. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Elena Katok, 2000. "How strategy sensitive are contributions?," Economic Theory, Springer, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 367-387.
  3. Holm, Hakan & Nystedt, Paul, 2005. "Intra-generational trust--a semi-experimental study of trust among different generations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 403-419, November.
  4. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
  5. Bolton, G.E. & Brandts, J. & Ockenfels, A., 1997. "Measuring Motivations for the Reciprocal Responses Observed in a Simple Dilemma Game," UFAE and IAE Working Papers, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) 400.97, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  6. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  7. Chaness, Gary & Levine, David I., 1999. "Changes in the Employment Contract? Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley qt4p535308, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  8. Brandts, J. & Sola, C., 1998. "Reference Points and Negative Reciprocity in Simple Sequential Games," UFAE and IAE Working Papers, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) 425.98, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  9. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  10. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  12. James C. Cox & Cary A. Deck, 2005. "On the Nature of Reciprocal Motives," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 623-635, July.
  13. John C. Ham & John H. Kagel & Steven F. Lehrer, 2000. "Randomization, Endogeneity and Laboratory Experiments," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers, Econometric Society 1524, Econometric Society.
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