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Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes

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

This article complements the experimental literature that has shown the importance of reciprocity for behaviour in stylised labour markets or other decision settings. We use individual measures of reciprocal inclinations in a large, representative survey and relate reciprocity to real world labour market behaviour and life outcomes. We find that reciprocity matters and that the way in which it matters is very much in line with the experimental evidence. In particular, positive reciprocity is associated with receiving higher wages and working harder. Negatively reciprocal inclinations tend to reduce effort. Negative reciprocity increases the likelihood of being unemployed. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2009.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2008.02242.x
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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 119 (2009)
Issue (Month): 536 (03)
Pages: 592-612

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:536:p:592-612
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  1. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "Representative trust and reciprocity: Prevalence and determinants," Munich Reprints in Economics 20057, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  3. 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.
  4. Falk, Armin & Zehnder, Christian, 2007. "Discrimination and In-Group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2765, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Effort and comparison income: experimental and survey evidence," Post-Print halshs-00459777, HAL.
  6. 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.
  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. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  9. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2005. "Do Social PreferencesIncrease Productivity? Field experimental evidence from fishermen in Toyoma Bay," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0515, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  10. Gachter, Simon & Falk, Armin, 2002. " Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(1), pages 1-26.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
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