Employment duration and resistance to wage reductions: Experimental evidence
AbstractOne of the long-standing puzzles in economics is why wages do not fall sufficiently in recessions so as to avoid increases in unemployment. Put differently, if the competitive market wage declines, why don't employers simply force their employees to accept lower wages as well? As an alternative to reviewing statistical data, we have performed an experiment with a lower competitive wage in the second phase of an employment relationship that is known to both parties. The experiment casts two subjects in the highly stylized roles of employer and employee. Our hypothesis is that employers will not lower wages correspondingly and that employees will resist such wage cuts. We find at most mild evidence for resistance to wage declines. Instead, the experimental results can be more fruitfully interpreted in terms of an 'ultimatum game', in which surplus between employers and employees is shared. In this view, wages and their lack of decline are simply the mechanical tool for accomplishing this split. --
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes in its series SFB 373 Discussion Papers with number 1998,74.
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
ultimatum game; wage flexibility; wage ratchet effect; wage bargaining; labour market; fair wages;
Other versions of this item:
- Michael Burda & Werner Güth & Georg Kirchsteiger & Harald Uhlig, 2005. "Employment Duration and Resistance to Wage Reductions: Experimental Evidence," Homo Oeconomicus, Institute of SocioEconomics, vol. 22, pages 169-189.
- Burda, M. & Güth, W. & Kirchsteiger, G. & Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S., 1998. "Employment Duration and Resistance to Wage Reductions: Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper 1998-073, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
- J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Ariel Rubinstein, 2010.
"Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
661465000000000387, David K. Levine.
- Rosen, Sherwin, 1985.
"Implicit Contracts: A Survey,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 1144-75, September.
- McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
- Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994.
"Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
- Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedl, Arno, 1996.
"Involuntary Unemployment and Non-compensating Wage Differentials in an Experimental Labour Market,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 106-21, January.
- Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1996. "Involuntary unemployment and non-compensating wage differentials in an experimental labour market," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5917, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Michele Boldrin & Michael Horvath, 1994.
"Labor Contracts and Business Cycles,"
1068, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
- Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-93.
- Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997.
"Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
- Guth, Werner, 1995. "On ultimatum bargaining experiments -- A personal review," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 329-344, August.
- Bewley, Truman F, 1995. "A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 250-54, May.
- Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
- Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S251-78, October.
- Smith, Jennifer C., 2002. "Pay Cuts And Morale : A Test Of Downward Nominal Rigidity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 649, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Truman F. Bewley, 2002. "Fairness, Reciprocity, and Wage Rigidity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1383, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Bewley, Truman, 2004. "Fairness, Reciprocity, and Wage Rigidity," IZA Discussion Papers 1137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Christian Calmès, 2005. "Self-Enforcing Labour Contracts and the Dynamics Puzzle," Working Papers 05-1, Bank of Canada.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.