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Workers' Participation in Wage Setting and Opportunistic Behavior: Evidence from a Gift-Exchange Experiment

Listed author(s):
  • Jörg Franke

    ()

    (University of Dortmund (TU), Department of Economics)

  • Ruslan Gurtoviy

    (University of Trier)

  • Vanessa Mertins

    ()

    (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the EU, University of Trier)

Our study analyzes the consequences of workers' participation in the wage setting process on effort exertion. The experimental design is based on a modified giftexchange game where the degree of workers’ involvement in the wage setting process is systematically varied among the workers. The experimental data reveals that workers' participation leads actually to a decline in effort exertion which can be explained by negative reciprocity of the respective worker. These results put some recently observed positive effects from workers' participation in experimental labor markets into perspective and are more in line with the ambiguous results from empirical studies.

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File Function: First version, 2014
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Paper provided by Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU) in its series IAAEU Discussion Papers with number 201407.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
Handle: RePEc:iaa:dpaper:201407
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  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. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 255-281, 06.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Philip Mellizo & Jeffrey Carpenter & Peter Hans Matthews, 2014. "Workplace democracy in the lab," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 313-328, July.
  6. Gächter, Simon & Thöni, Christian, 2010. "Social comparison and performance: Experimental evidence on the fair wage-effort hypothesis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 531-543, December.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 1999. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 106-134, February.
  8. Charness, Gary, 2000. "Responsibility and effort in an experimental labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 375-384, July.
  9. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
  10. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  11. R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
  12. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  13. Steffen Mueller, 2011. "Works Councils and Firm Profits Revisited," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 27-43, June.
  14. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González, 2011. "Don't Ask Me If You Will Not Listen: The Dilemma of Participative Decision Making," Working Papers 11-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  15. 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.
  16. Jeworrek, Sabrina & Mertins, Vanessa, 2014. "Do Self-Determined Wages Really Improve Employees Performance? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100462, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  17. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
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