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The power of delegation: Allowing workers to choose their wage

Author

Listed:
  • Gary Charness

    () (University of California at Santa Barbara)

  • Ramón Cobo-Reyes

    () (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.)

  • Natalia Jiménez

    () (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.)

  • Juan Antonio Lacomba

    () (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.)

  • Francisco Lagos

    () (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada.)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of delegation on the employees’ performance in an experimental gift exchange game where employers may allow workers to choose their own wage. Our results show that workers reciprocate positively towards companies that delegate the decision of the wage, obtaining that higher effort levels are displayed when workers are free to choose their wage, even when wages chosen by employees are similar to those assigned by employers. In addition, we find that this enhancement in workers’ behavior is mainly due to the positive effect of delegation per se rather than to the “responsibility-alleviation”.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Charness & Ramón Cobo-Reyes & Natalia Jiménez & Juan Antonio Lacomba & Francisco Lagos, 2010. "The power of delegation: Allowing workers to choose their wage," ThE Papers 09/07, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  • Handle: RePEc:gra:wpaper:09/07
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    File URL: http://www.ugr.es/~teoriahe/RePEc/gra/wpaper/thepapers09_07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness, 2004. "Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 665-688, July.
    2. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, May.
    3. Abeler, Johannes & Altmann, Steffen & Kube, Sebastian & Wibral, Matthias, 2006. "Reciprocity and Payment Schemes: When Equality Is Unfair," Ratio Working Papers 109, The Ratio Institute.
    4. Martin Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Individual versus group behavior and the role of the decision making procedure in gift-exchange experiments," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 63-88, March.
    5. Sandra Maximiano & Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Gift Exchange in a Multi-Worker Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1025-1050, July.
    6. Gary Charness & Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel, 2004. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 189-205, June.
    7. Lucas C. Coffman, 2011. "Intermediation Reduces Punishment (and Reward)," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 77-106, November.
    8. Björn Bartling & Urs Fischbacher, 2012. "Shifting the Blame: On Delegation and Responsibility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 67-87.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Gary Charness & Ramon Cobo-Reyes & Natalia Jimenez & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos, 2012. "The Hidden Advantage of Delegation: Pareto Improvements in a Gift Exchange Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2358-2379, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor market; gift exchange-game; delegation; responsibility-allevietion; experiments.;

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