IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Wage Increases and the Dynamics of Reciprocity


  • Dirk Sliwka
  • Peter Werner


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/689189. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.