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Relative pay and labor supply

Listed author(s):
  • Anat Bracha
  • Uri Gneezy

The authors use a labor supply; relative pay; experimental economics laboratory experiment to examine the impact of relative wages on labor supply. They test the hypothesis that, ceteris paribus, making a given wage high (low) relative to other wage levels will lead to an increase (decrease) in labor supply. They find that labor supply does respond significantly to relative pay, and in the expected direction. However, when a strong enough reason is given for the relative low pay, this difference disappears.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 12-6.

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Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:12-6
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  1. Camerer, Colin & Babcock, Linda & Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard, 1996. "Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers: One Day At A time," Working Papers 960, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
  3. 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.
  4. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1993. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 4369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0907, CEPREMAP.
  6. Feldstein, Martin & Poterba, James, 1984. "Unemployment insurance and reservation wages," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 141-167.
  7. Hyejin Ku & Timothy C. Salmon, 2012. "The Incentive Effects of Inequality: An Experimental Investigation," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 46-70, July.
  8. Christian Thöni & Simon Gächter, 2009. "Social Comparison and Performance: Experimental Evidence on the Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 2009-29, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  9. Blount, Sally & Bazerman, Max H., 1996. "The inconsistent evaluation of absolute versus comparative payoffs in labor supply and bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 227-240, August.
  10. Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels & Peter Werner, 2010. "Wage Transparency and Performance: A Real-Effort Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics 48, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  11. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-106.
  12. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Why is the Unemployment Rate So Very High near Full Employment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 339-396.
  13. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
  14. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  15. Alexandre Mas, 2006. "Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 783-821.
  16. Sven Fischer & Eva-Maria Steiger, 2009. "Exploring the Effects of Unequal and Secretive Pay," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-107, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  17. Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn, 2007. "Does Pay Inequality Affect Worker Effort? Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 693-723.
  18. H. Leibenstein, 1950. "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 183-207.
  19. Cohn, Alain & Fehr, Ernst & Herrmann, Benedikt & Schneider, Frédéric, 2011. "Social Comparison in the Workplace: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
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