Competition and Relational Contracts: The Role of Unemployment as a Disciplinary Device
When unemployment prevails, relations with a particular firm are valuable for workers. As a consequence, a worker may adhere to an implicit agreement to provide high effort, even when performance is no third-party enforceable. But can implicit agreements - or relational contracts - also motivate high worker performance when the labor market is tight? We examine this question by implementing an experimental market in which there is an excess demand for labor and the performance of workers is not third-party enforceable. We show that relational contracts emerge in which firms reward performing workers with wages that exceed the going market rate. This motivates workers to provide high effort, even though they could shirk and switch firms. Our results thus suggest that unemployment is not a necessary device to motivate workers. We also discuss how market conditions affect relational contracting by comparing identical labor markets with excess supply and excess demand for labor. Long-term relationships turn out to be less frequent when there is excess demand for labor compared to a market characterized by unemployment. Surprisingly though, this does not compromise market performance.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +41 44 631 31 11
Fax: +41 44 631 39 11
Web page: http://www.snb.ch/en/ifor/research/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004.
"Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions,"
Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, 05.
- Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2003. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," IZA Discussion Papers 897, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2006.
"Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods,"
2006-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2006. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," Discussion Papers 2006-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gächter, 2005. "Heterogeneous social preferences and the dynamics of free riding in public goods," IEW - Working Papers 261, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fischbacher, Urs & Gächter, Simon, 2006. "Heterogeneous Social Preferences and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 2011, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Wu, Steven Y. & Roe, Brian E., 2007. "Discretionary Latitude and Relational Contracting," IZA Discussion Papers 2879, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Steffen Huck & Andrew J. Seltzer & Brian Wallace, 2011. "Deferred Compensation in Multiperiod Labor Contracts: An Experimental Test of Lazear's Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 819-43, April.
- James Andreoni & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2003. "What Do Bargainers' Preferences Look Like? Experiments with a Convex Ultimatum Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 672-685, June.
- Flabbi, Luca & Ichino, Andrea, 1998.
"Productivity, Seniority and Wages: New Evidence from Personnel Data,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1966, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Flabbi, Luca & Ichino, Andrea, 2001. "Productivity, seniority and wages: new evidence from personnel data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 359-387, June.
- Ichino, A. & Flabbi, L., 1998. "Productivity, Seniority and Wages. New Evidence form Personnel Data," Economics Working Papers eco98/11, European University Institute.
- Medoff, James L & Abraham, Katharine G, 1980.
"Experience, Performance, and Earnings,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-36, December.
- Roe, Brian E. & Wu, Steven Y., 2009. "Do the Selfish Mimic Cooperators? Experimental Evidence from Finitely-Repeated Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 4084, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
- Hoyt Bleakley & Ann E. Ferris & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1999. "New data on worker flows during business cycles," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 49-76.
- Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
- Peter AUER & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "The resilience of the long-term employment relationship: Evidence from the industrialized countries," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(4), pages 379-408, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2008-07. 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: (Enzo Rossi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.