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Responsibility-Alleviation and Other-Regarding Preferences with Peer Workers in Labor Markets: An Experimental Investigation

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  • Mark Owens

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Abstract

A peer worker is introduced in a controlled labor market experiment characterized by unobservable effort and incomplete contracts. Workers make decisions independently and without knowledge of each other’s actions in a modified gift exchange experiment. Introducing a peer worker into an ongoing market has a negative and significant effect on effort. This decrease in effort is consistent with responsibility-alleviation on the part of employees and not with other-regarding equity concerns for the manager’s payoffs. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Owens, 2012. "Responsibility-Alleviation and Other-Regarding Preferences with Peer Workers in Labor Markets: An Experimental Investigation," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 353-369, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jlabre:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:353-369
    DOI: 10.1007/s12122-012-9138-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary Charness, 2004. "Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 665-688, July.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. Johannes Abeler & Steffen Altmann & Sebastian Kube & Matthias Wibral, 2010. "Gift Exchange and Workers' Fairness Concerns: When Equality is Unfair," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1299-1324, December.
    4. R. Mark Isaac & James M. Walker, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-199.
    5. Andreoni, James, 2007. "Giving gifts to groups: How altruism depends on the number of recipients," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1731-1749, September.
    6. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Responsibility and effort in an experimental labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 375-384, July.
    7. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, July.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Owens, Mark F. & Kagel, John H., 2010. "Minimum wage restrictions and employee effort in incomplete labor markets: An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 317-326, March.
    11. R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
    12. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aurélie BONEIN, 2014. "Social Comparison and Peer effects with Heterogeneous Ability," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201411, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    2. Yingchao Zhang & Oliver Fabel & Christian Thomann, 2015. "Pay inequity effects on back-office employees’ job performances: the case of a large insurance firm," 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. 23(2), pages 421-439, June.
    3. repec:eee:soceco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:53-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Sidek, Abdul Halim & Kurniawan, Yohan & Mohamad, Mohd Rosli, 2014. "Has Globalization Triggered Collective Impact of National Intelligence on Economic Growth?," MPRA Paper 77316, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer effects; Responsibility-alleviation; Other-regarding behavior; Gift exchange; Experiment; D03; C91;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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