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Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Dohmen Thomas
  • Falk Armin
  • Huffman David
  • Sunde Uwe

    (ROA rm)

Abstract

This paper complements the experimental literature that has shown theimportance of reciprocity for behaviour in stylized labour markets or otherdecision settings. We use individual measures of reciprocal inclinations in alarge, representative survey, and relate reciprocity to real world labour marketbehaviour and life outcomes. We find that reciprocity matters, and we find thatthe way in which it matters is very much in line with the experimental evidence.In particular, positive reciprocity is associated with receiving higher wages andworking harder. Negatively reciprocal inclinations tend to reduce effort. Firmsdo not pay lower wages to individuals with strong negatively reciprocalinclinations. Instead, negative reciprocity increases the likelihood of beingunemployed. Looking at broader measures of success, in terms of number ofclose friends, and subjective well-being, we find that positively reciprocalinclination are associated with greater happiness and ability to sustain friendshiprelations, with the opposite being true for negative reciprocity.

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2008. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2008007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.
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    3. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
    4. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, May.
    5. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 407-426, April.
    6. Gachter, Simon & Falk, Armin, 2002. " Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(1), pages 1-26.
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    12. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
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    14. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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    Keywords

    education; training and the labour market;

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