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When will there be Gift Exchange? Addressing the Lab-Field Debate with Laboratory Gift Exchange Experiments

  • Judd Kessler
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    Gift exchange experiments have demonstrated that norms can affect labor market outcomes and provided an explanation for involuntary unemployment. However, conflicting results from laboratory and field experiments have questioned the relevance of gift exchange and helped spark an ongoing debate about the relative merits of the lab and field. This paper uses laboratory experiments to identify three parameters that affect the likelihood workers engage in gift exchange, helping to reconcile results across lab and field experiments. Gift exchange is more prevalent when workers are rich relative to the firm, worker effort is efficient, or workers have a restricted action space.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-03/cesifo1_wp4161.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4161.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4161
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    8. Slonim, Robert & Wang, Carmen & Garbarino, Ellen & Merrett, Danielle, 2012. "Opting-In: Participation Biases in the Lab," IZA Discussion Papers 6865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    10. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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    19. Charness, Gary B, 2004. "Attribution And Reciprocity In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8rp6b18c, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    20. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2012. "Managerial Payoff and Gift Exchange in the Field," CESifo Working Paper Series 3707, CESifo Group Munich.
    21. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2012. "On the Generalizability of Experimental Results in Economics," NBER Working Papers 17957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. 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, 09.
    23. Charness, Gary B, 1999. "Responsibility And Effort In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7x98w91h, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    24. Xiao, Erte & Bicchieri, Cristina, 2010. "When equality trumps reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 456-470, June.
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