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Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes

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Author Info

  • Dohmen Thomas
  • Falk Armin
  • Huffman David
  • Sunde Uwe

    (ROA rm)

Abstract

This paper complements the experimental literature that has shown theimportance of reciprocity for behaviour in stylized labour markets or otherdecision settings. We use individual measures of reciprocal inclinations in alarge, representative survey, and relate reciprocity to real world labour marketbehaviour and life outcomes. We find that reciprocity matters, and we find thatthe way in which it matters is very much in line with the experimental evidence.In particular, positive reciprocity is associated with receiving higher wages andworking harder. Negatively reciprocal inclinations tend to reduce effort. Firmsdo not pay lower wages to individuals with strong negatively reciprocalinclinations. Instead, negative reciprocity increases the likelihood of beingunemployed. Looking at broader measures of success, in terms of number ofclose friends, and subjective well-being, we find that positively reciprocalinclination are associated with greater happiness and ability to sustain friendshiprelations, with the opposite being true for negative reciprocity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 007.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2008007

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Keywords: education; training and the labour market;

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References

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  1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  2. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2011. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence From Fishermen In Toyama Bay," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 612-630, 04.
  3. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2008. "Effort and comparison income: experimental and survey evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28502, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Simon Gaechter & Armin Falk, . "Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," IEW - Working Papers 019, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  7. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  8. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, 05.
  9. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "Representative trust and reciprocity: Prevalence and determenants," Munich Reprints in Economics 20058, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
  11. 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.
  12. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  13. Armin Falk & Christian Zehnder, 2007. "Discrimination and In-group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 318, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  14. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  15. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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