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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. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  2. 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.
  3. Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2008. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0886, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. 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.
  6. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  12. 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.
  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. 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. 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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