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Tournaments and Unfair Treatment

  • Sjögren Lindquist, Gabriella

    ()

    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

This paper introduces the negative feelings associated with the perception of being unfairly treated into a tournament model and examines the impact of these perceptions on workers’ efforts and their willingness to work overtime. The effect of unfair treatment on workers’ behavior is ambiguous in the model in that two countervailing effects arise: a negative impulsive effect and a positive strategic effect. The impulsive effect implies that workers react to the perception of being unfairly treated by reducing their level of effort. The strategic effect implies that workers raise this level in order to improve their career opportunities and thereby avoid feeling even more unfairly treated in the future. An empirical test of the model using survey data from a Swedish municipal utility shows that the overall effect is negative. This suggests that employers should consider the negative impulsive effect of unfair treatment on effort and overtime in designing contracts and determining on promotions.

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Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 8/2006.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2006_008
Contact details of provider: Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
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Web page: http://www.sofi.su.se/

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  1. Kräkel, Matthias, 2005. "Emotions and the Optimality of Unfair Tournaments," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 45, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Booth, Alison L. & Francesconi, Marco & Frank, Jeff, 2003. "A sticky floors model of promotion, pay, and gender," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 295-322, April.
  3. Grund, Christian & Sliwka, Dirk, 2002. "Envy and Compassion in Tournaments," IZA Discussion Papers 647, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Meyer, Margaret A, 1992. "Biased Contests and Moral Hazard: Implications for Career Profiles," CEPR Discussion Papers 637, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Linda A. Bell & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "The Incentive for Working Hard: Explaining Hours Worked Differences in the U.S. and Germany," NBER Working Papers 8051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S33-58, January.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 2004. "The Peter Principle: A Theory of Decline," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S141-S163, February.
  8. Steven Wu & Brian Roe, 2006. "Tournaments, Fairness, and Risk," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(3), pages 561-573.
  9. Krakel, Matthias, 2000. "Relative deprivation in rank-order tournaments," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 385-407, July.
  10. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-55, November.
  11. Stark, Oded, 1990. "A Relative Deprivation Approach to Performance Incentives in Career Games and Other Contests," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 211-27.
  12. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  13. Silke Anger, 2005. "Working Time as an Investment?: The Effects of Unpaid Overtime on Wages, Promotions, and Layoffs," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 535, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  14. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
  15. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  16. Wu, Steven Y. & Roe, Brian E., 2006. "AJAE Appendix: Tournaments, Fairness, and Risk," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(3), August.
  17. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  18. Silke Anger, 2005. "Unpaid Overtime in Germany: Differences between East and West," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(1), pages 17-27.
  19. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
  20. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
  21. Arai, Mahmood, 1989. "Monitoring and additional wages in labour extraction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 115-125, January.
  22. Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
  23. Francesconi, Marco, 2001. " Determinants and Consequences of Promotions in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(3), pages 279-310, July.
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