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The Impact of Pay Comparisons on Effort Behavior

  • Daniele Nosenzo

    (University of Nottingham)

This study uses a three-person gift-exchange game experiment to examine the impact of pay comparisons on effort behavior. We compare effort choices made in a treatment where coworkers’ wages are secret with effort choices made in two ‘public wages’ treatments. The two ‘public wages’ treatments differ in whether co-workers’ wages are chosen by an employer, or are fixed exogenously by the experimenter. We find that pay comparison information has an overall detrimental impact on effort choices: employees respond less favorably to the wage offers made by the employer when they receive information about the wage paid to the co-worker as compared to the case where co-workers’ wages are secret. These effects are particularly pronounced in the treatment where the level of the co-worker’s wage is fixed exogenously.

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File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/cedexdiscussionpaper201213.pdf
File Function: Revised version of 2010-03
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Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2010-03.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2010-03
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