Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market

41 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2001

See all articles by Gary Charness

Gary Charness

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2002

Abstract

Papers such as Akerlof and Yellen (1990) and Rabin (1993) argue that considerations such as fairness and reciprocity are important in individual decision-making. The gift-exchange game (Fehr, Kirchsteiger & Reidl, 1993, and many others) has established that, in the laboratory, higher wages offered by an employer lead to considerably more costly effort provision. However, it is unclear whether this behavior reflects reciprocity or other forms of social preferences. This paper tests whether attribution of volition in choosing a wage has a significant effect on subsequent costly effort provision. Treatments varied whether wages were chosen by the employer or by an external process. We see that both distributional concerns and reciprocity play a major role. The data are examined in the light of recent utility models.

Note: Previously titled "Attribution and Reciprocity in a Simulated Labor Market: An Experimental Investigation"

Suggested Citation

Charness, Gary, Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market (April 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=274192 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.274192

Gary Charness (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States
805-893-2412 (Phone)
805-893-8830 (Fax)

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