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Gift Exchange in the Workplace

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  • Robert Dur

    ()
    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, and CESifo)

Abstract

We develop a model of manager-employee relationships where employees care more for their manager when they are more convinced that their manager cares for them. Managers can signal their altruistic feelings towards their employees in two ways: by offering a generous wage and by giving attention. Contrary to the traditional gift-exchange hypothesis, we show that altruistic managers may offer lower wages and nevertheless build up better social-exchange relationships with their employees than egoistic managers do. In such equilibria, a low wage signals to employees that the manager has something else to offer -- namely, a lot of attention -- which will induce the employee to stay at the firm and work hard. Our predictions are well in line with some recent empirical findings about gift exchange in the field.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 08-082/1.

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Date of creation: 03 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20080082

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: manager-employee relationships; wages; extra-role behavior; sabotage; gift exchange; social exchange; conditional altruism; reciprocity; signaling game;

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References

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  1. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, 09.
  2. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
  3. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Bettina Rockenbach & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2005. "In search of worker's real effort reciprocity - a field and a laboratory experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00065, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
  8. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  9. 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.
  10. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 2001. "The non-monetary nature of gifts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1793-1810, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Susanne Neckermann & Reto Cueni & Bruno S. Frey, 2009. "Awards At Work," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-09, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    • Susanne Neckermann & Reto Cueni & Bruno S. Frey, 2010. "Awards at work," CREMA Working Paper Series 2010-01, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    • Susanne Neckermann & Reto Cueni & Bruno S. Frey, 2010. "Awards at work," IEW - Working Papers 411, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    • Neckermann, Susanne & Cueni, Reto & Frey, Bruno S., 2012. "Awards at work," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-004, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2008. "Academics Appreciate Awards. A New Aspect of Incentives in Research," IEW - Working Papers 400, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

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