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Fair Wages When Employers Face the Risk of Losing Money

Author

Listed:
  • Karina Gose

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

  • Abdolkarim Sadrieh

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Karina Gose & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2011. "Fair Wages When Employers Face the Risk of Losing Money," FEMM Working Papers 110009, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:110009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, May.
    5. 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.
    6. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    7. 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.
    8. 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, July.
    9. Bruggen, Alexander & Strobel, Martin, 2007. "Real effort versus chosen effort in experiments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 232-236, August.
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    11. 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 324-351, April.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gose, Karina & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2014. "Strike, coordination, and dismissal in uniform wage settings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 145-158.
    2. Işgın, Ebru & Sopher, Barry, 2015. "Information transparency, fairness and labor market efficiency," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 33-39.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fair wage; efficiency wage; social comparison; loss aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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