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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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  9. Frank, Robert H. & Hutchens, Robert M., 1993. "Wages, seniority, and the demand for rising consumption profiles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 251-276, August.
  10. Heike Hennig‐Schmidt & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Bettina Rockenbach, 2010. "In Search of Workers' Real Effort Reciprocity—a Field and a Laboratory Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 817-837, 06.
  11. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
  12. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2010. "Do wage cuts damage work morale? Evidence from a natural field experiment," IEW - Working Papers 471, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2011.
  13. Christian Grund & Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and the Impact of Wage Increases on Job Satisfaction: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(2), pages 313-335, June.
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  15. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter J., 2010. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," IZA Discussion Papers 4941, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Frank, Robert H, 1989. "Frames of Reference and the Quality of Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 80-85, May.
  17. John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006. "Putting behavioral economics to work: Testing for gift exchange in labor markets using field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00259, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. Kube, Sebastian & Maréchal, Michel André & Puppe, Clemens, 2011. "The currency of reciprocity - gift-exchange in the workplace," Working Paper Series in Economics 25, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  19. Read, Daniel & Loewenstein, George & Rabin, Matthew, 1999. "Choice Bracketing," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 171-97, December.
  20. 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.
  21. Judd Kessler, 2013. "When will there be Gift Exchange? Addressing the Lab-Field Debate with Laboratory Gift Exchange Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 4161, CESifo Group Munich.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
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