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

Social Comparison and Performance: Experimental Evidence on the Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis

  • Simon Gaechter

    ()

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Christian Thoeni

    ()

    (University of St. Gallen)

We investigate the impact of wage comparisons for worker productivity. We present three studies which all use three-person gift-exchange experiments. Consistent with Akerlof and Yellen's (1990) fair wage-effort hypothesis we find that disadvantageous wage discrimination leads to lower efforts while advantageous wage discrimination does not increase efforts on average. Two studies allow us to measure wage comparison effects at the individual level. We observe strongly heterogeneous wage comparison effects. We also find that reactions to wage discrimination can be attributed to the underlying intentions of discrimination rather than to payoff consequences.

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://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/2009-23.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2009-23.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2009-23
Contact details of provider: Postal:
School of Economics University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD

Phone: (44) 0115 951 5620
Fax: (0115) 951 4159
Web page: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/cedex/

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. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimuller, Josef, 1999. "Intra-Firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 555-72.
  2. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 175-178, December.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Muller, Laurent & Sefton, Martin & Steinberg, Richard & Vesterlund, Lise, 2008. "Strategic behavior and learning in repeated voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 782-793, September.
  6. Rachel Croson & Simon Gächter, 2009. "The Science of Experimental Economics," Post-Print hal-00737932, HAL.
  7. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 4414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Iris Bohnet & Richard Zeckhauser, 2004. "Social comparisons in ultimatum bargaining," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  9. Christian Grund & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2008. "The Dispersion of Employees' Wage Increases and Firm Performance," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(4), pages 485-501, July.
  10. Martins, Pedro S., 2008. "Dispersion in wage premiums and firm performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 63-65, October.
  11. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
  12. Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Antonio Cabrales & Gary Charness, 2000. "Optimal contracts, adverse selection and social preferences: An experiment," Economics Working Papers 478, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  14. Simon Gaechter & Christian Thoeni, 2009. "Social Comparison and Performance: Experimental Evidence on the Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis," Discussion Papers 2009-23, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  15. 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.
  16. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, 07.
  18. Gary Charness & Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel, 2004. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(2), pages 189-205, 06.
  19. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
  20. Gächter, Simon & Nosenzo, Daniele & Sefton, Martin, 2008. "The Impact of Social Comparisons on Reciprocity," IZA Discussion Papers 3639, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
  22. Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels & Peter Werner, 2010. "Wage Transparency and Performance: A Real-Effort Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics 48, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  23. Werner Güth & Manfred Königstein & Judit Kovács & Enikõ Zala-Mezõ, 2001. "Fairness Within Firms: The Case Of One Principal And Multiple Agents," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 53(2), pages 82-101, April.
  24. Fehr, Ernst & Götte, Lorenz & Zehnder, Christian, 2008. "A Behavioral Account of the Labor Market: The Role of Fairness Concerns," IZA Discussion Papers 3901, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Christian Thöni & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2009. "Microfoundations of Social Capital," Discussion Papers 09-24, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2010.
  26. Cohn, Alain & Fehr, Ernst & Herrmann, Benedikt & Schneider, Frédéric, 2011. "Social Comparison in the Workplace: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2002. "Neutral versus Loaded Instructions in a Bribery Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse23_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
  28. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2008. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0886, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  29. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:13-29 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  31. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-61, April.
  32. Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Bettina Rockenbach & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2005. "In search of worker's real effort reciprocity - a field and a laboratory experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00065, The Field Experiments Website.
  33. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  34. 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.
  35. Armin Falk & Markus Knell, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 417-435, October.
  36. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C1-C33, March.
  37. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-56, March.
  38. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1993. "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 10018, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  39. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2000. "Reciprocity and wage undercutting," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5905, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  40. Armin Falk & James J. Heckman, 2009. "Lab Experiments are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 200935, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  41. Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thoeni, 2007. "Measuring Conditional Cooperation: A Replication Study in Russia," Discussion Papers 2007-07, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  42. 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.
  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.
  44. Burchett, Richard & Willoughby, John, 2004. "Work productivity when knowledge of different reward systems varies: Report from an economic experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 591-600, October.
  45. Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn, 2007. "Does Pay Inequality Affect Worker Effort? Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 693-723.
  46. Hibbs Jr., Douglas A. & Locking, Håkan, 2000. "Wage Dispersion and Productive Efficiency: Evidence For Sweden," Working Papers in Economics 21, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  47. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
  48. Luigi Mittone & Matteo Ploner, 2009. "Social Effects in a Multi-Agent Investment Game. An Experimental Analysis," CEEL Working Papers 0905, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  49. Simon Gaechter & Elke Renner, 2010. "The effects of (incentivized) belief elicitation in public goods experiments," Discussion Papers 2010-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  50. Agell, Jonas & Bennmarker, Helge, 2007. "Wage incentives and wage rigidity: A representative view from within," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 347-369, June.
  51. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  52. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2003. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Labor and Demography 0305001, EconWPA.
  53. 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.
  54. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Testing Theories of Fairness - Intentions Matter," IEW - Working Papers 063, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  55. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-80, April.
  56. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, 09.
  57. Alewell, Dorothea & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2009. "Wage differentials and social comparison: An experimental study of interrelated ultimatum bargaining," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 210-220, September.
  58. Main, Brian G M & O'Reilly, Charles A, III & Wade, James, 1993. "Top Executive Pay: Tournament or Teamwork?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 606-28, October.
  59. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-283.
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:not:notcdx:2009-23. 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: (Suzanne Robey)

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.