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Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation

  • Simon Gaechter
  • Armin Falk

Recent evidence highlights the importance of social norms in many economic relations. However, many of these relationships are long-term and provide repeated game incentives for performance. We experimentally investigate interaction effects of reciprocity and repeated game incentives in two treatments (one-shot and repeated) of a gift-exchange game. In both treatments we observe reciprocity, which is strengthened in the repeated game. A detailed analysis shows that in the repeated game some subjects imitate reciprocity. Thus, reciprocity and repeated game incentives reinforce each other. Observed behaviour is robust against experience. We conclude that a long-term interaction is a “reciprocity-compatible” contract enforcement device.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 019.

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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:019
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  1. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1985. "Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 905-22, July.
  2. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. " Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(2), pages 295-307, June.
  3. Abbink, Klaus & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Renner, Elke, 2000. "The moonlighting game: An experimental study on reciprocity and retribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 265-277, June.
  4. repec:att:wimass:9102 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Cooper, Russell & DeJong, Douglas V. & Forsythe, Robert & Ross, Thomas W., 1996. "Cooperation without Reputation: Experimental Evidence from Prisoner's Dilemma Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 187-218, February.
  6. James Andreoni & John H Miller, 1997. "Rational Cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoner's dilemma: experimental evidence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 670, David K. Levine.
  7. Croson, Rachel T. A., 1996. "Partners and strangers revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 25-32, October.
  8. Clark, Kenneth & Sefton, Martin, 2001. "The Sequential Prisoner's Dilemma: Evidence on Reciprocation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 51-68, January.
  9. 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.
  10. Agell, Jonas, 1998. "On the Benefits from Rigid Labour Markets: Norms, Market Failures, and Social Insurance," Working Paper Series 1998:17, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  11. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  12. Rachel T. A. Croson, 2007. "Theories Of Commitment, Altruism And Reciprocity: Evidence From Linear Public Goods Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(2), pages 199-216, 04.
  13. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  14. Friedel Bolle, 1998. "Rewarding Trust: An Experimental Study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 83-98, August.
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