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Gift giving and worker productivity: Evidence from a firm-level experiment

  • Bellemare, Charles
  • Shearer, Bruce

We present results from a field experiment, designed to measure worker response to a monetary gift from their employer. The experiment took place inside a tree-planting firm paying its workforce incentive contracts. Firm managers told a crew of tree planters they would receive a pay raise for one day as a result of a surplus not attributable to past planting productivity. We compare planter productivity--the number of trees planted per day--on the day the gift was handed out with productivity on previous and subsequent days of planting on the same block, and thus under similar planting conditions. We find direct evidence that the gift had a significant and positive effect on daily planter productivity, controlling for planter-fixed effects, weather conditions and other random daily shocks.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 67 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 233-244

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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:67:y:2009:i:1:p:233-244
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622836

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  17. Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
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