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Fair Wages When Employers Face the Risk of Losing Money

  • Karina Gose

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Abdolkarim Sadrieh

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

We study the behavior of employers and employees in a gift exchange game and find that employers offer lower wages when there is the risk of losing money. This, however, does not lead to lower effort level choices. In fact, effort per wage unit is significantly higher in the treatment with potential employer losses. This result can be in line with social comparison theories that are based on relative payoff differences. Alternatively, this result is also in line with the hypothesis that the risk of losing money increases the credibility of the employer's trust signal and, thus, the employee's reciprocity.

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File URL: http://www.fww.ovgu.de/fww_media/femm/femm_2011/2011_09.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management in its series FEMM Working Papers with number 110009.

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Length: 8 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:110009
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  5. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, 05.
  6. Charness, Gary B, 2004. "Attribution And Reciprocity In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8rp6b18c, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  7. Sandra Maximiano & Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Gift Exchange in a Multi-Worker Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1025-1050, 07.
  8. Bruggen, Alexander & Strobel, Martin, 2007. "Real effort versus chosen effort in experiments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 232-236, August.
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Fahr, Rene & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2000. "Fairness as a constraint on trust in reciprocity: earned property rights in a reciprocal exchange experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 275-282, March.
  11. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  12. Fehr, Ernst, et al, 1998. "When Social Norms Overpower Competition: Gift Exchange in Experimental Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 324-51, April.
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