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Simple and Complex Gift Exchange in the Laboratory


  • van der Heijden, Eline C M, et al


We examine an experimental gift exchange game in which the players can improve on the unique no-gifts equilibrium by two different types of gift exchange: simple and complex exchange, respectively. Complex exchange gives higher payoffs than simple exchange, but it requires not only mutual trust, like with simple exchange, but also a substantial degree of coordination. We examine whether players are able to conclude simple and complex exchanges and how this is affected by the move and matching structure of the game. We find that the so-called partners treatment is a precondition for the occurrence of complex exchange. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • van der Heijden, Eline C M, et al, 2001. "Simple and Complex Gift Exchange in the Laboratory," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 280-297, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:39:y:2001:i:2:p:280-97

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mak, Vincent & Zwick, Rami, 2009. ""Confidentially yours": Restricting information flow between trustees enhances trust-dependent transactions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 142-154, May.
    2. Bernd Irlenbusch, 2006. "Experimental perspectives on incentives in organisations," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 14(1), pages 1-24, February.
    3. Johann Behrens & Hartmut Kliemt & M. Vittoria Levati & Werner Güth, 2006. "Games that Doctors Play Two-layered agency problems in a medical system," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-02, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    4. Jan Potters & Martin Sefton & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Leading-by-example and signaling in voluntary contribution games: an experimental study," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 169-182, October.
    5. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Sliwka, Dirk, 2005. "Transparency and reciprocal behavior in employment relations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 383-403, March.
    6. Elwyn Davies & Marcel Fafchamps, 2017. "When No Bad Deed Goes Punished: Relational Contracting in Ghana versus the UK," NBER Working Papers 23123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Pech, Wesley & Milan, Marcelo, 2009. "Behavioral economics and the economics of Keynes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 891-902, December.
    8. Tamás Kovács & Marc Willinger, 2010. "Is there a relation between trust and trustworthiness?," Working Papers 10-03, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Mar 2010.
    9. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Career concerns in a simple experimental labour market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 147-170, January.
    10. Solnick, Sara J., 2007. "Cash and alternate methods of accounting in an experimental game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 316-321, February.
    11. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    12. Simon G�chter & Ernst Fehr, "undated". "Fairness in the Labour Market � A Survey of Experimental Results," IEW - Working Papers 114, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    13. Potters, J.J.M. & Sefton, M. & Vesterlund, L., 2001. "Why Announce Leadership Contributions? An Experimental Study of the Signaling and Reciprocity Hypotheses," Discussion Paper 2001-100, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    14. Güth, W. & Offerman, T.J.S. & Potters, J.J.M. & Strobel, M. & Verbon, H.A.A., 2002. "Are family transfers crowded out by public transfers?," Other publications TiSEM 1e2de80f-3983-4eb5-9471-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions


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