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Timing of Kindness - Evidence from a Field Experiment

  • Axel Ockenfels
  • Dirk Sliwka
  • Peter Werner

We conduct a field experiment in a naturally occurring labor environment and track whether the performance of workers responds to unexpected wage increases. Specifically, we investigate how the timing of wage increases affects efforts. We find that workers’ performance is about 11% higher for the same total wage when their wage is increased in two steps as opposed to a single increase at the outset. Moreover, workers are more honest and are more willing to do voluntary extra work after surprising wage increases compared to a baseline condition without increases.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2014/wp-cesifo-2014-07/cesifo1_wp4885.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4885.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4885
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  1. Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Rockenbach, Bettina & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2005. "In Search of Workers' Real Effort Reciprocity - A Field and a Laboratory Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 55, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Kosfeld, Michael & Neckermann, Susanne, 2010. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 5040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
  5. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  6. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2012. "Managerial Payoff and Gift Exchange in the Field," CESifo Working Paper Series 3707, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2011. "Is There a 'Hidden Cost of Control' in Naturally-Occurring Markets? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2010. "The currency of reciprocity - gift-exchange in the workplace," IEW - Working Papers 377, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Aug 2011.
  10. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  11. David Gill & Victoria Prowse & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2013. "Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity," Economics Series Working Papers 666, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Matthieu Chemin & Joost DeLaat & André Kurmann, 2011. "Reciprocity in Labor Relations: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Long-Term Relationships," Cahiers de recherche 1127, CIRPEE.
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