IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 2491, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J., 2009. "Lab Experiments Are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," IZA Discussion Papers 4540, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Simon Gaechter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2010. "The Impact Of Social Comparisons On Reciprocity," Discussion Papers 2010-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 457, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Martins, Pedro S., 2008. "Dispersion in wage premiums and firm performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 63-65, October.
  6. Klaus Abbink & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2006. "Neutral versus loaded instructions in a bribery experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 103-121, June.
  7. Charness, Gary & Frechette, Guillaume R & Kagel, John H, 2002. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8qq4k3ph, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  8. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2000. "Reciprocity and wage undercutting," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5905, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Laurent Muller & Martin Sefton & Richard Steinberg & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Strategic Behavior and Learning in Repeated Voluntary-Contribution Experiments," Discussion Papers 2005-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. Christian Grund & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2005. "The Dispersion of Employees' Wage Increases and Firm Performance," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse3_2005, University of Bonn, Germany.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Heike Hennig‐Schmidt & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Bettina Rockenbach, 2010. "In Search of Workers' Real Effort Reciprocity—a Field and a Laboratory Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 817-837, 06.
  16. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997. "Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Thöni, Christian & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Wengström, Erik, 2012. "Microfoundations of social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 635-643.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Rachel Croson & Simon Gächter, 2009. "The Science of Experimental Economics," Post-Print hal-00737932, HAL.
  23. Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thöni, 2009. "Measuring conditional cooperation: a replication study in Russia," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 87-92, March.
  24. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "A behavioral account of the labor market: the role of fairness concerns," IEW - Working Papers 394, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Simon Gächter & Christian Thöni, 2010. "Social Comparison and Performance: Experimental Evidence on the Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis," Post-Print hal-00911823, HAL.
  32. Margin Dufwenberg & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000090, David K. Levine.
  33. 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.
  34. John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006. "Putting behavioral economics to work: Testing for gift exchange in labor markets using field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00259, The Field Experiments Website.
  35. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  36. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimuller, Josef, 1999. "Intra-Firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 555-72.
  37. Andrew E. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2009. "Who compares to whom? The anatomy of income comparisons in Europe," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586036, HAL.
  38. 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.
  39. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "On the Nature of Fair Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 2984, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  40. Luigi Mittone & Matteo Ploner, 2008. "Social Effects in a Multi-Agent Investment Game. An Experimental Analysis," CEEL Working Papers 0805, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  41. 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).
  42. Greiner, Ben & Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2011. "Wage transparency and performance: A real-effort experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 236-238, June.
  43. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  44. 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.
  45. Armin Falk, 2007. "Gift Exchange in the Field," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(5), pages 1501-1511, 09.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  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. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1990. "Executive pay and firm performance," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 13-29, February.
  52. 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.
  53. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Benedikt Herrmann & Frédéric Schneider, 2011. "Social comparison in the workplace: evidence from a field experiment," ECON - Working Papers 007, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
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.