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Wage Increases and the Dynamics of Reciprocity

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  • Dirk Sliwka
  • Peter Werner

Abstract

We investigate how workers' performance is affected by the timing of wages in a real-effort experiment. In all treatments, agents earn the same wage sum, but wage increases are distributed differently over time. We find that agents work harder under increasing wage profiles if they do not know these profiles in advance. A profile that continuously increases wages by small amounts raises performance by about 15% relative to a constant wage. The effort reactions can be organized by a model in which agents reciprocally respond to wage impulses, comparing wages to an adaptive reference standard determined by the previous wage.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner, 2017. "Wage Increases and the Dynamics of Reciprocity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 299-344.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/689189
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Fongoni, 2018. "Workers' reciprocity and the (ir)relevance of wage cyclicality for the volatility of job creation," Working Papers 1809, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    2. Diriwaechter, Patric & Shvartsman, Elena, 2018. "The anticipation and adaptation effects of intra- and interpersonal wage changes on job satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 116-140.
    3. Marco Fongoni, 2018. "A theoretical note on asymmetries in intensity and persistence of reciprocity in labour markets," Working Papers 1815, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:182-202 is not listed on IDEAS

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