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Effort and comparison income: Survey and experimental evidence

Author

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • David Masclet

    (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marie Claire Villeval

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon - Saint-Etienne - ENS de Lyon - École normale supérieure de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Étienne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

This paper combines ISSP survey data and experimental evidence from a gift-exchange game to determine the effect of status or relative income on work effort. We find a strong effect of others' incomes on individual effort decisions in both datasets. The individual's rank in the income distribution has a more powerful effect on effort than does others' average income, suggesting that comparisons are more ordinal than cardinal. We further show that, controlling for own income and income rank, the width of the relevant income distribution matters, with effort increasing in the distance from the bottom of the income distribution. Last, effort is also affected by comparisons over time: those who received higher income offers or had higher income rank in the past exert lower levels of effort for a given current income.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Effort and comparison income: Survey and experimental evidence," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590552, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00590552
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-00590552
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    Cited by:

    1. Eriksson, Tor & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2008. "Performance-pay, sorting and social motivation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 412-421, November.
    2. Abeler, Johannes & Altmann, Steffen & Kube, Sebastian & Wibral, Matthias, 2006. "Reciprocity and Payment Schemes: When Equality Is Unfair," Ratio Working Papers 109, The Ratio Institute.
    3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 592-612, March.
    4. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2006. "Equity and Equality," IZA Discussion Papers 2284, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Carmen Herrero & Juan D. Moreno‐Ternero, 2009. "Estimating production costs in the economic evaluation of health‐care programs," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 21-35, January.
    6. Kuhnen, Camelia M. & Tymula, Agnieszka, 2008. "Rank expectations, feedback and social hierarchies," MPRA Paper 13428, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2009.
    7. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2006. "Liberté ou égalité?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 82(4), pages 441-476, décembre.
    8. Fernanda Rivas, 2009. "Wage dispersion and workers` effort," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(2), pages 788-794.
    9. Jean‐Yves Duclos, 2006. "Innis Lecture: Equity and equality," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 39(4), pages 1073-1104, November.
    10. Maria Fernanda Rivas & Matthias Sutter, 2008. "Wage dispersion and workers' effort," Working Papers 2008-15, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    peak-end; income distribution; rank; comparison income; effort; experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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