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Do Managers Reciprocate? Field Experimental Evidence From a Competitive Market

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  • Michel André Maréchal

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  • Christian Thöni

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Abstract

A substantive amount of lab experimental evidence suggests that the norm of reciprocity has important economic consequences. However, it is unclear whether the norm of reciprocity survives in a natural and competitive environment with experienced agents. For this purpose we analyze data from a natural field experiment conducted with sales representatives who were instructed to randomly distribute product samples as gifts to their business partners. We find that distributing gifts to store managers boosts sales revenue substantially, which is consistent with the notion of reciprocity. However, the results underline that the nature of the relationship between market participants crucially affects the prevalence of reciprocal behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel André Maréchal & Christian Thöni, 2007. "Do Managers Reciprocate? Field Experimental Evidence From a Competitive Market," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-09, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2007:2007-09
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "The Impact of Social Comparisons on Reciprocity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1346-1367, December.
    2. Michael Kirchler & Stefan Palan, 2016. "Immaterial and Monetary Gifts in Economic Transactions - Evidence from the Field," Working Paper Series, Social and Economic Sciences 2016-01, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Karl-Franzens-University Graz.
    3. Regner, Tobias, 2014. "Social preferences? Google Answers!," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 188-209.
    4. Shchetinin, Oleg, 2009. "Contracting under Reciprocal Altruism," TSE Working Papers 09-078, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    5. Charles Bellemare & Bruce Shearer, 2007. "Gift Exchange within a Firm: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Cahiers de recherche 0708, CIRPEE.
    6. Vera Angelova & Tobias Regner, 2012. "Do voluntary payments to advisors improve the quality of financial advice? An experimental sender-receiver game," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-011, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    7. Uwe Dulleck & Jonas Fooken & Yumei He, 2012. "Public Policy and Individual Labor Market Discrimination: An Artefactual Field Experiment in China," QuBE Working Papers 002, QUT Business School.
    8. repec:inn:wpaper:2014-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2013. "The influence of wages on public officials' corruptibility: A laboratory investigation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2013-210, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    10. Currie, Janet & Lin, Wanchuan & Meng, Juanjuan, 2013. "Social networks and externalities from gift exchange: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 19-30.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    reciprocity; gift exchange; field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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