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A Gift is not Always a Gift: Gift Exchange in a Voucher Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Sascha Becker
  • Dolores Messer
  • Stefan C. Wolter

Abstract

Different from traditional gift exchange experiments, we study a field experiment where a random subsample of participants in the Swiss Labor Force Survey was sent vouchers to be used in adult training courses. Importantly for our purposes, actual voucher redemption can be traced. This gives the unique opportunity to study whether gift exchange in the form of participation in future rounds of the survey depends on the perceived usefulness of the gift. We find that the group of voucher recipients as a whole has significantly higher response rates in the survey six months after the vouchers were sent out. There is considerable heterogeneity, though. Our results point to a long-lasting gift exchange relationship for the sub-group that had redeemed their vouchers. Contrary to this group, the individuals who did not redeem their vouchers, had a response pattern that was not significantly different from the voucher non-recipients.

Suggested Citation

  • Sascha Becker & Dolores Messer & Stefan C. Wolter, 2011. "A Gift is not Always a Gift: Gift Exchange in a Voucher Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 3488, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3488
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3488.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
    3. Messer, Dolores & Wolter, Stefan C., 2009. "Money Matters: Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Field Experiment with Vouchers for Adult Training," IZA Discussion Papers 4017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, September.
    5. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, September.
    6. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2010. "Gift Exchange in the Lab - It is not (only) how much you give ..," CESifo Working Paper Series 2944, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Sebastian Kube & Michel Andre Marechal & Clemens Puppe, 2012. "The Currency of Reciprocity: Gift Exchange in the Workplace," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1644-1662, June.
    8. repec:feb:artefa:0056 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Bellemare, Charles & Shearer, Bruce, 2009. "Gift giving and worker productivity: Evidence from a firm-level experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 233-244, September.
    10. Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "An Evaluation of the Swedish System of Active Labor Market Programs in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 133-155, February.
    11. Laurie, Heather & Lynn, Peter, 2008. "The use of respondent incentives on longitudinal surveys," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-42, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    12. Edwin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Chris van Klaveren, 2005. "Worker Reciprocity and Employer Investment in Training," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(285), pages 137-149, February.
    13. Laurie, Heather, 2007. "The effect of increasing financial incentives in a panel survey: an experiment on the British Household Panel Survey, Wave 14," ISER Working Paper Series 2007-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gift exchange; reciprocity; field experiment; long-run effects;

    JEL classification:

    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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