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Gift-exchange, incentives, and heterogeneous workers

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  • Non, Arjan

Abstract

By incorporating reciprocity in an otherwise standard principal–agent model, I investigate the relation between monetary gift-exchange and incentive pay, while allowing for worker heterogeneity. I assume that some, but not all, workers care more for their principal when they are convinced that the principal cares for them. The principal can be egoistic or altruistic. Absent worker heterogeneity, an altruistic principal signals his altruism by offering relatively weak incentives and a relatively high expected total compensation. However, the latter is not always required to credibly signal altruism. Furthermore, since some workers do not reciprocate the principalʼs altruism, the principal may find it optimal to write a contract that simultaneously signals his altruism and screens reciprocal worker types. Such a contract is characterised by excessively strong incentives and a relatively high expected total compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Non, Arjan, 2012. "Gift-exchange, incentives, and heterogeneous workers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 319-336.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:75:y:2012:i:1:p:319-336 DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2011.10.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Christiane Bradler & Robert Dur & Susanne Neckermann & Arjan Non, 2016. "Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3085-3099, November.
    2. Robert Dur & Jan Tichem, 2012. "Social Relations and Relational Incentives," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-054/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Robert Dur & Jan Tichem, 2015. "Altruism and Relational Incentives in the Workplace," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 485-500, September.
    4. von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2013. "Intention-based reciprocity and the hidden costs of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 55-65.
    5. Jan Tichem, 2013. "Leniency Bias in Long-Term Workplace Relationships," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-196/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Gürtler, Marc & Gürtler, Oliver, 2014. "The interaction of explicit and implicit contracts: A signaling approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 135-146.
    7. Ferdinand von Siemens, 2015. "Team Production, Gender Diversity, and Male Courtship Behavior," CESifo Working Paper Series 5259, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Reciprocity; Gift-exchange; Signalling game; Incentive contracts; Screening;

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices

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