A Gift is Not Always a Gift: Heterogeneity and Long‐Term Effects in a Gift Exchange Experiment

27 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2013

See all articles by Sascha O. Becker

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics; University of Warwick

Dolores Messer

University of Bern

Stefan C. Wolter

Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education (SKBF); University of Bern - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2013

Abstract

We study gift exchange in a field experiment where a random subsample of participants in the Swiss Labour Force Survey received vouchers to be used in adult training. Actual voucher redemption can be traced, giving us the unique opportunity to study whether gift exchange in the form of participation in future rounds of the survey depends on the perceived usefulness of the gift. The group of voucher recipients as a whole has significantly higher response rates. There is considerable heterogeneity, however. Our results point to a long‐lasting gift exchange relationship only for the subgroup that redeemed their vouchers.

Keywords: gift exchange, reciprocity, field experiment, long‐run effects

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Messer, Dolores and Wolter, Stefan C., A Gift is Not Always a Gift: Heterogeneity and Long‐Term Effects in a Gift Exchange Experiment (April 2013). Economica, Vol. 80, Issue 318, pp. 345-371, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2233210 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecca.12004

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3
Australia

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Dolores Messer

University of Bern ( email )

Gesellschaftsstrasse 49
CH-3012 Bern, BERN 3001
Switzerland

Stefan C. Wolter

Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education (SKBF) ( email )

CH - 5000 Aarau
Switzerland
+41 62 835 23 90 (Phone)
+41 62 835 23 99 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.skbf-csre.ch

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

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Bern, CH-3012
Switzerland
+41 31 631 40 95 (Phone)
+41 31 631 39 92 (Fax)

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