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Tournaments and Unfair Treatment

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  • Sjögren Lindquist, Gabriella

    ()
    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

Abstract

This paper introduces the negative feelings associated with the perception of being unfairly treated into a tournament model and examines the impact of these perceptions on workers’ efforts and their willingness to work overtime. The effect of unfair treatment on workers’ behavior is ambiguous in the model in that two countervailing effects arise: a negative impulsive effect and a positive strategic effect. The impulsive effect implies that workers react to the perception of being unfairly treated by reducing their level of effort. The strategic effect implies that workers raise this level in order to improve their career opportunities and thereby avoid feeling even more unfairly treated in the future. An empirical test of the model using survey data from a Swedish municipal utility shows that the overall effect is negative. This suggests that employers should consider the negative impulsive effect of unfair treatment on effort and overtime in designing contracts and determining on promotions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 8/2006.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2006_008

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Keywords: Unfair treatment; tournaments;

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  13. Kräkel, Matthias, 2005. "Emotions and the Optimality of Unfair Tournaments," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 45, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  14. Stark, Oded, 1990. "A Relative Deprivation Approach to Performance Incentives in Career Games and Other Contests," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 211-27.
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  19. Wu, Steven Y. & Roe, Brian E., 2006. "AJAE Appendix: Tournaments, Fairness, and Risk," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(3), August.
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  21. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S33-58, January.
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