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Optimal Contracting with Altruism and Reciprocity

Motivated by the recent experimental evidence on altruistic behavior, we study a simple principal-agent model where each player cares about other players’ utility, and may reciprocate their attitude towards him. We show that, relative to the selfish benchmark, efficiency improves when players are altruistic. Nevertheless, in contrast to what may be expected, an increase in the degree of the agent’s altruism as well as a more reciprocal behavior by players has ambiguous effects on efficiency. We also consider the effects of the presence of spiteful players and discuss how monetary transfers between players depend on their degrees of altruism and spitefulness.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 342.

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Date of creation: 10 Oct 2013
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Publication status: Published in Research in Economics, 2014, 68(1), 27–38
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:342
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  1. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  3. 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.
  4. Shchetinin, Oleg, 2009. "Contracting Under Reciprocal Altruism," Working Papers in Economics 421, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Robert Dur, 2008. "Gift Exchange in the Workplace: Money or Attention?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2496, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. David K Levine, 1997. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiments," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2047, David K. Levine.
  7. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur, 2004. "Incentives and Workers' Motivation in the Public Sector," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-060/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Robert Dur & Jan Tichem, 2012. "Social Relations and Relational Incentives," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-054/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  10. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2000. "Reciprocity and wage undercutting," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5905, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Ernst Fehr & John List, 2004. "The hidden costs and returns of incentives - trust and trustworthiness among ceos," Artefactual Field Experiments 00044, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal: The Case of Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 379-409, March.
  13. Robert Dur & Jan Tichem, 2012. "Social Relations and Relational Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 3826, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. David P. Baron & Roger B. Myerson, 1979. "Regulating a Monopolist with Unknown Costs," Discussion Papers 412, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Jack, William, 2005. "Purchasing health care services from providers with unknown altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 73-93, January.
  16. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria L. & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2012. "Cheating in the Workplace: An Experimental Study of the Impact of Bonuses and Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 6725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
  18. Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: The Winner's Curse," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 191-202, Winter.
  19. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  20. De Marco, Giuseppe & Immordino, Giovanni, 2013. "Partnership, reciprocity and team design," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 39-58.
  21. Robert Dur & Jan Tichem, 2012. "Social Relations and Relational Incentives," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-054/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  22. Netzer, Nick & Schmutzler, Armin, 2010. "Rotten Kids with Bad Intentions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7667, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert A.J. Dur, 2002. "From Public Monopsony to Competitive Market: More Efficiency but Higher Prices," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-118/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 31 Jan 2008.
  24. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2005. "Dynamic Psychological Games," Working Papers 287, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  25. Siciliani, Luigi, 2009. "Paying for performance and motivation crowding out," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 68-71, May.
  26. Shchetinin, Oleg, 2009. "Altruism and Career Concerns," TSE Working Papers 09-093, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  27. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-97, Summer.
  28. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-26, September.
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