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The Multi-Dimensional Effects of Reciprocity on Worker Effort: Evidence from a Hybrid Field-Laboratory Labor Market Experiment

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Listed:
  • Kim, Min-Taec

    (University of Sydney)

  • Slonim, Robert

    () (University of Sydney)

Abstract

We examine the gift exchange hypothesis on both the quantity and quality of output using a hybrid field-laboratory labor market experiment. We recruited participants to enter survey data for a well-known charitable organization. Workers were paid either a high or low wage. We find that although the total number of surveys entered did not vary with the wage, high wage workers made fewer errors and entered more surveys after controlling for errors. We further find that for low costs associated with errors, offering the low wage maximizes profits, but for higher costs paying the higher "gift exchange" wage maximizes profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Kim, Min-Taec & Slonim, Robert, 2012. "The Multi-Dimensional Effects of Reciprocity on Worker Effort: Evidence from a Hybrid Field-Laboratory Labor Market Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6410, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6410
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
    2. Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Bettina Rockenbach & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2010. "In Search Of Workers' Real Effort Reciprocity-A Field and a Laboratory Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 817-837, June.
    3. Florian Englmaier & Stephen Leider, 2012. "Contractual and Organizational Structure with Reciprocal Agents," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 146-183, May.
    4. Michael Kosfeld & Susanne Neckermann, 2011. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 86-99, August.
    5. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    6. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-1156.
    7. Gary Charness & Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel, 2004. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 189-205, June.
    8. John A. List, 2009. "Social Preferences: Some Thoughts from the Field," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 563-583, May.
    9. Slonim, Robert & Garbarino, Ellen, 1999. "The Effect of Price History on Demand as Mediated by Perceived Price Expensiveness," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-14, May.
    10. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, September.
    11. Puppe Clemens & Sebastian Kube & Michel Marechal, 2006. "Putting reciprocity to work - positive versus negative responses in the field," Natural Field Experiments 00291, The Field Experiments Website.
    12. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2010. "Gift Exchange in the Lab - It is not (only) how much you give ..," CESifo Working Paper Series 2944, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Alexandre Mas, 2006. "Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 783-821.
    14. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    15. Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2005. "Emotion expression in human punishment behavior," Experimental 0504003, EconWPA, revised 18 May 2005.
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    1. You pay peanuts . . .
      by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2012-04-06 11:13:46

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    Cited by:

    1. Fuhai Hong & Tanjim Hossain & John A. List & Migiwa Tanaka, 2013. "Testing the Theory of Multitasking: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment in Chinese Factories," CESifo Working Paper Series 4522, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory and field experiments; multi-tasking; reciprocity; gift exchange;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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