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Wage differentials and social comparison: An experimental study of interrelated ultimatum bargaining

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  • Alewell, Dorothea
  • Nicklisch, Andreas

Abstract

Equal pay for equal work is discussed in many different legal and political contexts. Our study explores one consequence of this formula, the effect of social comparison for wage acceptance, in multilateral ultimatum games. The results of our laboratory experiments indicate that the availability of information concerning ultimatum offers to other responders influences acceptance behavior even if responders have differing outside options. Particularly, behavior is only partly influenced by self-regarding social comparison; that is, the probability of acceptance decreases significantly for offers that put responders at a substantial disadvantage compared with others. On the contrary, responders are also partly concerned about unfavorable discrimination against others. However, we find that in our setting, i.e. in a setting where the wage offer relation is endogenously chosen, a slightly unequal relation maximizes the joint acceptance frequency for both responders.

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  • Alewell, Dorothea & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2009. "Wage differentials and social comparison: An experimental study of interrelated ultimatum bargaining," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 210-220, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:29:y:2009:i:3:p:210-220
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    2. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "The Impact of Social Comparisons on Reciprocity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1346-1367, December.
    3. Lehr, Alex & Vyrastekova, Jana & Akkerman, Agnes & Torenvlied, René, 2016. "Spillovers and conflict in wage bargaining: Experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 59-68.
    4. Jérémy Celse, 2009. "Will Joe the Plumber envy Bill Gates? The impact of both absolute and relative differences on interdependent preferences," Working Papers 09-26, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.
    5. Angelova, Vera & Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G., 2012. "Co-employment of permanently and temporarily employed agents," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 48-58.
    6. Gächter, Simon & Thöni, Christian, 2010. "Social comparison and performance: Experimental evidence on the fair wage-effort hypothesis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 531-543, December.

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