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Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes

  • Dohmen, Thomas J.
  • Falk, Armin
  • Huffman, David
  • Sunde, Uwe

This article complements the experimental literature that has shown the importance of reciprocity for behaviour in stylised labour markets or other decision settings. We use individual measures of reciprocal inclinations in a large, representative survey and relate reciprocity to real world labour market behaviour and life outcomes. We find that reciprocity matters and that the way in which it matters is very much in line with the experimental evidence. In particular, positive reciprocity is associated with receiving higher wages and working harder. Negatively reciprocal inclinations tend to reduce effort. Negative reciprocity increases the likelihood of being unemployed.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20055.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Publication status: Published in Economic Journal 536 119(2009): pp. 592-612
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20055
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  1. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2008. "Effort and comparison income: experimental and survey evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28502, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  3. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Armin Falk & Christian Zehnder, 2007. "Discrimination and In-group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 318, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
  7. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "Representative trust and reciprocity: Prevalence and determenants," Munich Reprints in Economics 20058, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  9. Gachter, Simon & Falk, Armin, 2002. " Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(1), pages 1-26.
  10. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  11. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Seki, Erika, 2005. "Do Social Preferences Increase Productivity? Field Experimental Evidence from Fishermen in Toyama Bay," IZA Discussion Papers 1697, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
  14. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  15. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
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