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Toward an understanding of the relative strengths of positive and negative reciprocity

Author

Listed:
  • Omar Al-Ubaydli
  • Uri Gneezy
  • Min Sok Lee
  • John A. List

Abstract

A stylized fact is that agents respond more acutely to negative than positive stimuli. Such findings have generated insights on mechanism-design, have been featured prominently in policymaking, and more generally have led to discussions of whether preferences are defined over consumption levels or changes in consumption. This study reconsiders this stylized fact. In doing so, it provides insights into an important domain wherein positive stimuli induce a greater response than negative stimuli: a principal-agent game with reputational considerations and with the agent on the market's short end. This common setting represents an important feature of labor markets with involuntary unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Omar Al-Ubaydli & Uri Gneezy & Min Sok Lee & John A. List, 2010. "Toward an understanding of the relative strengths of positive and negative reciprocity," NBER Working Papers 16547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16547
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Lee, Min Sok, 2009. "An experimental study of asymmetric reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 738-749, November.
    2. Pereira, Paulo T. & Silva, Nuno & Silva, Joao Andrade e, 2006. "Positive and negative reciprocity in the labor market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 406-422, March.
    3. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    4. Houser, Daniel & Morton, Rebecca & Stratmann, Thomas, 2011. "Turned on or turned out? Campaign advertising, information and voting," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 708-727.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brandes, Leif & Franck, Egon, 2012. "Social preferences or personal career concerns? Field evidence on positive and negative reciprocity in the workplace," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 925-939.
    2. Christiane Bradler & Susanne Neckermann, 2019. "The Magic of the Personal Touch: Field Experimental Evidence on Money and Appreciation as Gifts," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 121(3), pages 1189-1221, July.
    3. Bharat Chandar & Uri Gneezy & John A. List & Ian Muir, 2019. "The Drivers of Social Preferences: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 26380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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