IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Backscratching in Hierarchical Organizations

Listed author(s):
  • Valeria Maggian
  • Natalia Montinari
  • Antonio Nicolò

In this paper we investigate the role of reciprocity in sustaining the emergence of implicit collusive agreements in hierarchical organizations. We conduct a laboratory experiment in which an agent hires, on behalf of the principal, one worker out of two candidates. The two candidates differ in their ability and, once employed, the worker chooses a level of non-contractible effort to exert in two tasks: one benefits the organization (that is both the principal and the agent) while the other one is less profitable, only benefits the agent and provides him with higher earnings. We provide evidence that: i) low ability workers are more likely to exert effort in the task that is exclusively beneficial to the agent; ii) as a consequence, agents distort the hiring process in favor of the low ability workers and iii) sharing a small part of the organization's profits with the workers alleviates their effort distortion.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper299.pdf
File Function: First version, 2015
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 299.

as
in new window

Length: 33
Date of creation: Apr 2015
Date of revision: Apr 2015
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:299
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Piazza Ateneo Nuovo, 1 Milano 20126

Phone: +39 02 6448 3089
Fax: +39 02 6448 3085
Web page: http://dems.unimib.it
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Natalia Montinari & Antonio Nicolò & Regine Oexl, 2016. "The gift of being chosen," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 460-479, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Eriksson, Tor & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2012. "Respect and relational contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 286-298.
  4. 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.
  5. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence From Personnel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1047-1094, 07.
  6. Frederico Finan & Laura Schechter, 2012. "Vote‐Buying and Reciprocity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 863-881, 03.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
  8. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Riedl, Arno, 1998. "Gift exchange and reciprocity in competitive experimental markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-34, January.
  9. 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, 06.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 1999. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 106-134, February.
  11. Ulrike M. Malmendier & Klaus Schmidt, 2012. "You Owe Me," CESifo Working Paper Series 4007, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2009. "The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(4), pages 488-503, December.
  13. Francis Kramarz & David Thesmar, 2013. "Social Networks In The Boardroom," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 780-807, 08.
  14. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2013. "Do Wage Cuts Damage Work Morale? Evidence From A Natural Field Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 853-870, 08.
  15. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "An Experimental Bribery Game," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 428-454, October.
  16. Bac, Mehmet, 1996. "Corruption and Supervision Costs in Hierarchies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 99-118, April.
  17. 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, 09.
  18. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2010. "Bare promises: An experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 281-283, May.
  19. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  20. Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-772, October.
  21. Veikko Thiele, 2013. "Subjective Performance Evaluations, Collusion, and Organizational Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 35-59, February.
  22. David K. Levine & Federico Weinschelbaum & Felipe Zurita, 2010. "The Brother-In-Law Effect," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 497-507, 05.
  23. Andreas Diekmann & Wojtek Przepiorka & Heiko Rauhut, 2011. "Lifting the veil of ignorance: An experiment on the contagiousness of norm violations," Discussion Papers 2011004, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  24. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1998. "On Custom in the Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292241, April.
  25. Robin, Stéphane & Rusinowska, Agnieszka & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "Ingratiation: Experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 16-38.
  26. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
  27. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How Common is Workplace Transformation and Who Adopts it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  28. Bellemare, Charles & Shearer, Bruce, 2009. "Gift giving and worker productivity: Evidence from a firm-level experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 233-244, September.
  29. 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.
  30. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-978, October.
  31. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1988. "Hidden Gaming in Hierarchies: Facts and Models," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 64(187), pages 295-306, December.
  32. Maximiano, Sandra & Sloof, Randolph & Sonnemans, Joep, 2013. "Gift exchange and the separation of ownership and control," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 41-60.
  33. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn & Georgi Tsertsvadze, 2005. "Getting along with Colleagues - Does Profit Sharing Help or Hurt?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 557-573, November.
  34. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  35. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-457, March.
  36. Michèle Belot & Jeroen van de Ven, 2011. "Friendships and Favouritism on the Schoolground – A Framed Field Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1228-1251, December.
  37. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1990. "Analysis of Hidden Gaming in a Three-Level Hierarchy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 301-324, Fall.
  38. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2008. "Identity, Supervision, and Work Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 212-217, May.
  39. Prendergast, Canice, 1993. "A Theory of "Yes Men."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 757-770, September.
  40. Abbink, Klaus, 2004. "Staff rotation as an anti-corruption policy: an experimental study," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 887-906, November.
  41. Chang, Juin-jen & Lai, Ching-chong, 2002. " Is the Efficiency Wage Efficient? The Social Norm and Organizational Corruption," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(1), pages 27-47.
  42. R. Lynn Hannan & John H. Kagel & Donald V. Moser, 2002. "Partial Gift Exchange in an Experimental Labor Market: Impact of Subject Population Differences, Productivity Differences, and Effort Requests on Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 923-951, October.
  43. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:299. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matteo Pelagatti)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.