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Do Managers Reciprocate? Field Experimental Evidence From a Competitive Market

  • Michel André Maréchal

    ()

  • Christian Thöni

    ()

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.

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File URL: http://www1.vwa.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/dp2007/DP-09-Ma.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 with number 2007-09.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2007:2007-09
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  2. Andreas Lange & Craig Landry & John List & Michael Price & Nicholas Rupp, 2006. "Toward an understanding of the economics of charity: Evidence from a field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00292, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
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  11. Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. 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.
  14. Catherine Eckel, 2005. "Subsidizing Charitable Contributions: A Field Test Comparing Matching and Rebate Subsidies," Working Papers 2098, The Field Experiments Website.
  15. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  16. Michel Marechal & Puppe Clemens & Sebastian Kube, 2006. "Putting reciprocity to work - positive versus negative responses in the field," Natural Field Experiments 00291, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  18. Charness, Gary & Haruvy, Ernan & Sonsino, Doron, 2007. "Social distance and reciprocity: An Internet experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 88-103, May.
  19. Fehr, Ernst, et al, 1998. "When Social Norms Overpower Competition: Gift Exchange in Experimental Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 324-51, April.
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