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How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?

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Listed:
  • Gary Charness
  • Guillaume R. Frechette
  • John H. Kagel

    ()

Abstract

The gift-exchange game is a form of sequential prisoner's dilemma, developed by Fehr et al. (1993), and popularized in a series of papers by Ernst Fehr and co-authors. While the European studies typically feature a high degree of gift exchange, the few U.S. studies provide some conflicting results. We find that the degree of gift exchange is surprisingly sensitive to an apparently innocuous change--whether or not a comprehensive payoff table is provided in the instructions. We also find significant and substantial time trends in responder behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness & Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel, 2004. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 189-205, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:7:y:2004:i:2:p:189-205
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
    2. Pereira, Paulo T. & Silva, Nuno & Silva, Joao Andrade e, 2006. "Positive and negative reciprocity in the labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 406-422, March.
    3. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
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