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A Gift is not Always a Gift: Gift Exchange in a Voucher Experiment

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Author Info

  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Dolores Messer
  • Stefan C. Wolter

Abstract

Different from traditional gift exchange experiments, we study a field experiment where a random subsample of participants in the Swiss Labor Force Survey was sent vouchers to be used in adult training courses. Importantly for our purposes, actual voucher redemption can be traced. This gives the unique opportunity to study whether gift exchange in the form of participation in future rounds of the survey depends on the perceived usefulness of the gift. We find that the group of voucher recipients as a whole has significantly higher response rates in the survey six months after the vouchers were sent out. There is considerable heterogeneity, though. Our results point to a long-lasting gift exchange relationship for the sub-group that had redeemed their vouchers. Contrary to this group, the individuals who did not redeem their vouchers, had a response pattern that was not significantly different from the voucher non-recipients.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2011/wp-cesifo-2011-06/cesifo1_wp3488.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3488.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3488

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Related research

Keywords: gift exchange; reciprocity; field experiment; long-run effects;

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References

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  1. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  2. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2010. "The currency of reciprocity - gift-exchange in the workplace," IEW - Working Papers 377, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Aug 2011.
  3. Dolores Messer & Stefan C. Wolter, 2009. "Money Matters - Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Field Experiment with Vouchers for Adult Training," CESifo Working Paper Series 2548, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, 09.
  6. repec:ese:iserwp:2007-05 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "An Evaluation of the Swedish System of Active Labor Market Programs in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 133-155, February.
  8. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Chris van Klaveren, 2005. "Worker Reciprocity and Employer Investment in Training," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(285), pages 137-149, 02.
  9. Bellemare, Charles & Shearer, Bruce, 2009. "Gift giving and worker productivity: Evidence from a firm-level experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 233-244, September.
  10. Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. repec:ese:iserwp:2008-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. repec:feb:artefa:0056 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2010. "Gift Exchange in the Lab - It is not (only) how much you give ..," CESifo Working Paper Series 2944, CESifo Group Munich.
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