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In Search Of Workers' Real Effort Reciprocity-A Field and a Laboratory Experiment

  • Heike Hennig-Schmidt
  • Bettina Rockenbach
  • Abdolkarim Sadrieh

We present a field experiment to assess the effect of own and peer wage variations on actual work effort of employees with hourly wages. Work effort neither reacts to an increase of the own wage, nor to a positive or negative peer comparison. This result seems at odds with numerous laboratory experiments that show a clear own wage sensitivity on effort. In an additional real-effort laboratory experiment we show that explicit cost and surplus information that enables an exact calculation of an employer's surplus from the work contract is a crucial prerequisite for a positive wage-effort relation. This demonstrates that an employee's reciprocity requires a clear assessment of the surplus at stake. (JEL: C91, C92, J41) (c) 2010 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
Pages: 817-837

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:8:y:2010:i:4:p:817-837
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