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Equity and Efficiency in Multi-Worker Firms: Insights from Experimental Economics

Author

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  • Abeler, Johannes

    (University of Oxford)

  • Altmann, Steffen

    (University of Duisburg-Essen)

  • Goerg, Sebastian J.

    (Technische Universität München)

  • Kube, Sebastian

    (University of Bonn)

  • Wibral, Matthias

    (Maastricht University)

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss recent evidence from economic experiments that study the impact of social preferences on workplace behavior. We focus on situations in which a single employer interacts with multiple employees. Traditionally, equity and efficiency have been seen as opposing aims in such work environments: individual pay-for-performance schemes maximize efficiency but might lead to inequitable outcomes. We present findings from laboratory experiments that show under which circumstances partially incomplete contracts can create equitable work environments while at the same time reaching surprisingly efficient outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Abeler, Johannes & Altmann, Steffen & Goerg, Sebastian J. & Kube, Sebastian & Wibral, Matthias, 2011. "Equity and Efficiency in Multi-Worker Firms: Insights from Experimental Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5727, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5727
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    2. Jose Rojas-Fallas & J. Forrest Williams, 2020. "Wage Differences Matter: An Experiment of Social Comparison and Effort Provision when Wages Increase or Decrease," Games, MDPI, vol. 11(4), pages 1-12, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory experiments; wage setting; equity; gift exchange; reciprocity; incomplete contracts; incentives; organizational economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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