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Reciprocity in Dynamic Employment Relationships

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  • Matthias Fahn

Abstract

This paper analyzes a dynamic relational contract for employees with reciprocal preferences. I develop a tractable model to investigate how “direct” performance-pay (promising a bonus in exchange for effort) and generous upfront wages (which activate the norm of reciprocity) interact over the course of an employee’s career. I show that firms can benefit from committing to paying non-discretionary wages in the future as this boosts their credibibility in the relational contract. The reason is that these wages have to be paid under any circumstances, whereas employees only reciprocate if the firm has kept its promises. Moreover, I demonstrate that more intense competition for workers can intensify the use of reciprocity-based incentives.

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  • Matthias Fahn, 2020. "Reciprocity in Dynamic Employment Relationships," CESifo Working Paper Series 8414, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8414
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    Cited by:

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    3. Bental, Benjamin & Kragl, Jenny, 2021. "Inequality and incentives with societal other-regarding preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 1298-1324.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    reciprocity; relational contracts; commitment; norms and social preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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