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Wage inequality and team production: An experimental analysis

  • Bartling, Björn
  • von Siemens, Ferdinand A.

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:1:p:1-16
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Pedro Rey-Biel, 2007. "Inequity Version and Team Incentives," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 677.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Clark, Andrew E. & Masclet, David & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2006. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1989. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," NBER Working Papers 3105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet & Carsten Helm, 2004. "Output and Wages with Inequality Averse Agents," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-47, CIRANO.
  5. 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.
  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. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Bartling, Björn & Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2007. "Equal Sharing Rules in Partnerships," Discussion Papers in Economics 2027, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2004. "Social learning and voluntary cooperation among like-minded people," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2004 2004-12, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  10. 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.
  11. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  13. 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.
  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, 07.
  15. 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.
  16. Hideshi Itoh, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Other-Regarding Preferences," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 18-45.
  17. Campbell, Carl M, III & Kamlani, Kunal S, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-89, August.
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