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Immaterial and monetary gifts in economic transactions: evidence from the field

Author

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  • Michael Kirchler

    () (University of Innsbruck
    University of Gothenburg)

  • Stefan Palan

    () (University of Innsbruck
    University of Graz)

Abstract

Abstract Reciprocation of monetary gifts is well-understood in economics. In contrast, there is little research on reciprocal behavior following immaterial gifts like compliments. We narrow this gap and investigate how employees reciprocate after receiving immaterial gifts and material gifts over time. We purchase (1) ice cream from fast food restaurants, and (2) durum doner, a common lunch snack, from independent vendors. Prior to the food’s preparation, we either compliment or tip the salesperson. We find that salespersons reciprocate compliments with higher product weight than in a control treatment. Importantly, this reciprocal behavior following immaterial gifts grows over repeated transactions. Tips, in contrast, have a stronger level effect which does not change over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kirchler & Stefan Palan, 2018. "Immaterial and monetary gifts in economic transactions: evidence from the field," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 205-230, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:21:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9536-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-017-9536-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Kirchler & Stefan Palan, 2018. "Immaterial and monetary gifts in economic transactions: evidence from the field," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 205-230, March.
    2. Lars Hornuf & Sabrina Jeworrek, 2018. "Crowdsourced Innovation: How Community Managers Affect Crowd Activities," CESifo Working Paper Series 7153, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Michel André Maréchal & Christian Thöni, 2018. "Hidden Persuaders: Do Small Gifts Lubricate Business Negotiations?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7070, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gift exchange; Reciprocity; Immaterial gifts; Natural field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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