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The Emergence of Social Structure: Employer Information Networks in an Experimental Labor Market

Listed author(s):
  • Klarita Gerxhani

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Jordi Brandts

    (Autonoma University, Barcelona)

  • Arthur Schram

    (University of Amsterdam)

This discussion paper resulted in an article in Social Networks (2013). Volume 35, issue 4, pages 541-560. We use laboratory experiments to investigate how employers develop social structures for sharing information about the trustworthiness of job candidates, when worker opportunism is possible. The experimental data show that substantial information sharing emerges. Two types of information networks are observed. One consists of 'anonymity networks' where information is anonymously and voluntarily provided as a collective good for all employers to use. The other type is a 'reciprocity network' where information sharing is driven by the rewarding of previously given information by the requestor. In both types, the extent of information sharing depends on the costs of providing it. Moreover, information sharing enables employers to recruit trustworthy workers which creates a high quality of trading, benefiting both employer and worker.

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Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 11-032/1.

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Date of creation: 11 Feb 2011
Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20110032
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  1. 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.
  2. Falk Armin & Kosfeld Michael, 2012. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-36, September.
  3. Milgrom, Paul R, 1988. "Employment Contracts, Influence Activities, and Efficient Organization Design," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 42-60, February.
  4. Corbae, Dean & Duffy, John, 2008. "Experiments with network formation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-120, September.
  5. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence From Personnel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1047-1094, July.
  6. 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, July.
  7. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  8. Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 2004. "Persistent parochialism: trust and exclusion in ethnic networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-23, September.
  9. Martin Brown & Christian Zehnder, 2005. "Credit Registries, Relationship Banking and Loan Repayment," IEW - Working Papers 240, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-1418, December.
  11. Arthur Schram, 2005. "Artificiality: The tension between internal and external validity in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 225-237.
  12. Brandts, Jordi & Gërxhani, Klarita & Schram, Arthur & Ygosse-Battisti, Jolanda, 2010. "Size doesn't matter! Gift exchange in experimental labor markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 544-548, December.
  13. Eguchi, Kyota, 2005. "Job transfer and influence activities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 187-197, February.
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