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Do People Stand by their Commitments? Evidence from Classroom Experiments


  • Agnès Festré

    University of Picardie - Jules Verne)

  • Pierre Garrouste

    University of Nice Sophia Antipolis)


In this paper we test the fulfillment of commitments in terms of effort made by students under an incentive contract but without strategic interactions. Accordingly it is an experimental contribution to decision theory. The experiments took place in classrooms during class time. Students have to announce a level and realize a level of effort virtually. The two levels of effort can differ and the game is made in such a way that students have interest not the stand by their commitments that to make their two levels of effort different. The results show however that an important percentage of students respect their commitment and that a freezing effect can be identified.

Suggested Citation

  • Agnès Festré & Pierre Garrouste, 2014. "Do People Stand by their Commitments? Evidence from Classroom Experiments," GREDEG Working Papers 2014-03, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2014-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    2. Sarah Brown & Jolian McHardy & Robert McNabb & Karl Taylor, 2011. "Workplace Performance, Worker Commitment, and Loyalty," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 925-955, September.
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    4. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, April.
    5. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    6. Cristiano Antonelli & Francesco Quatraro, 2014. "The effects of biased technological changes on total factor productivity: a rejoinder and new empirical evidence," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 281-299, April.
    7. Pettit, Philip, 2005. "Construing Sen On Commitment," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 15-32, April.
    8. Francis Green, 2008. "Leeway for the Loyal: A Model of Employee Discretion," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 1-32, March.
    9. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
    10. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
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    More about this item


    commitment; freezing effect; classroom experiments; level of effort;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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