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Wage inequality and team production: An experimental analysis

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  • Bartling, Björn
  • von Siemens, Ferdinand A.

Abstract

Numerous survey studies report that human resource managers curb wage inequality with the intent to avoid detrimental effects on workers' morale. However, there exists little controlled empirical evidence demonstrating that horizontal social comparisons and wage inequality have adverse effects on worker behavior. In this paper, we present data from a laboratory experiment that studies the impact of wage inequality on participation and effort choices in team production. Overall, we do not find evidence that wage inequality has a significant impact on either participation or effort choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Bartling, Björn & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2011. "Wage inequality and team production: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-16, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:1:p:1-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pedro Rey-Biel, 2008. "Inequity Aversion and Team Incentives," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 297-320, June.
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    5. Björn Bartling & Ferdinand A. von Siemens, 2010. "Equal Sharing Rules in Partnerships," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 299-320, June.
    6. Bartling, Björn & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2010. "The intensity of incentives in firms and markets: Moral hazard with envious agents," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 598-607, June.
    7. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2005. "Social Learning and Voluntary Cooperation Among Like-Minded People," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 303-314, 04/05.
    8. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-1015.
    9. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet & Carsten Helm, 2006. "Output and wages with inequality averse agents," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(2), pages 399-413, May.
    10. Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn, 2007. "Does Pay Inequality Affect Worker Effort? Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 693-723.
    11. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    12. Werner Güth & Manfred Königstein & Judit Kovács & Enikõ Zala-Mezõ, 2001. "Fairness Within Firms: The Case Of One Principal And Multiple Agents," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 53(2), pages 82-101, April.
    13. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Benedikt Herrmann & Frédéric Schneider, 2011. "Social comparison in the workplace: evidence from a field experiment," ECON - Working Papers 007, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    14. Sandra Maximiano & Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Gift Exchange in a Multi-Worker Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1025-1050, July.
    15. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
    16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniele Nosenzo, 2013. "Pay Secrecy And Effort Provision," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1779-1794, July.
    2. Gross, Till & Guo, Christopher & Charness, Gary, 2015. "Merit pay and wage compression with productivity differences and uncertainty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 233-247.
    3. Brandes, Leif & Franck, Egon, 2012. "Social preferences or personal career concerns? Field evidence on positive and negative reciprocity in the workplace," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 925-939.
    4. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
    5. Sean P. Hargreaves Heap & Abhijit Ramalingam & Siddharth Ramalingam & Brock V. Stoddard, 2015. "‘Doggedness’ or ‘disengagement’? An experiment on the effect of inequality in endowment on behaviour in team competitions," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 13-08-R, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    6. Gary Charness & Ramón Cobo-Reyes & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos & Jose Maria Perez, 2016. "Social comparisons in wage delegation: experimental evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 433-459, June.
    7. Luca Livio, 2018. "Friends or Foes? Optimal Incentives for Reciprocal Agents," Working Papers ECARES 2018-03, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Hargreaves Heap, Shaun P. & Ramalingam, Abhijit & Ramalingam, Siddharth & Stoddard, Brock V., 2015. "‘Doggedness’ or ‘disengagement’? An experiment on the effect of inequality in endowment on behaviour in team competitions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 80-93.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:137:y:2017:i:c:p:324-338 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:joepsy:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:173-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Marco Kleine & Sebastian Kube, 2015. "Communication and Trust in Principal-Team Relationships: Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2015_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    12. Daniele Nosenzo, 2010. "The Impact of Pay Comparisons on Effort Behavior," Discussion Papers 2010-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    13. Drouvelis, Michalis & Nosenzo, Daniele & Sefton, Martin, 2017. "Team incentives and leadership," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 173-185.
    14. Emily Breza & Supreet Kaur & Yogita Shamdasani, 2016. "The Morale Effects of Pay Inequality," NBER Working Papers 22491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Linde, Jona & Sonnemans, Joep, 2015. "Decisions under risk in a social and individual context: The limits of social preferences?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 62-71.

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