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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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  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. 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.
  14. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Cheating in the workplace: An experimental study of the impact of bonuses and productivity," MPRA Paper 50166, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. 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.
  16. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
  17. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. 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 1644-62, June.
  19. Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Bettina Rockenbach & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2005. "In search of worker's real effort reciprocity - a field and a laboratory experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00065, The Field Experiments Website.
  20. Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein, 1998. "The Red and the Black: Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(1), pages 4-28.
  21. 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.
  22. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2012. "Managerial Payoff and Gift Exchange in the Field," CESifo Working Paper Series 3707, CESifo Group Munich.
  23. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  24. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  25. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
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