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How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?

  • Charness, Gary
  • Frechette, Guillaume R
  • Kagel, John H

The gift-exchange game is a form of sequential prisoner’s dilemma, developed by Fehr, Kirchsteiger, and Riedl (1993), and popularized in a series of papers by Ernst Fehr and co-authors. While the European studies typically feature a high degree of gift exchange, the few U.S. studies provide some conflicting results. We find that the degree of gift exchange is surprisingly sensitive to an apparently innocuous change—whether or not a comprehensive payoff table is provided in the instructions. We also find significant and substantial time trends in responder behavior.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt8qq4k3ph.

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Date of creation: 23 Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt8qq4k3ph
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  1. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  2. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Pereira, Paulo T. & Silva, Nuno & Silva, Joao Andrade e, 2006. "Positive and negative reciprocity in the labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 406-422, March.
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