Gift Exchange within a Firm: Evidence from a Field Experiment

CIRPEE Working Paper No. 07-08

29 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2007

See all articles by Charles Bellemare

Charles Bellemare

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bruce Shearer

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2007

Abstract

We present results from a field experiment testing the gift-exchange hypothesis inside a tree-planting firm paying its workforce incentive contracts. Firm managers told a crew of tree planters they would receive a pay raise for one day as a result of a surplus not attributable to past planting productivity. We compare planter productivity - the number of trees planted per day - on the day the gift was handed out with productivity on previous and subsequent days of planting on the same block, and thus under similar planting conditions. We find direct evidence that the gift had a significant and positive effect on daily planter productivity, controlling for planter-fixed effects, weather conditions and other random daily shocks. Moreover, reciprocity is the strongest when the relationship between planters and the firm is long term.

Keywords: Reciprocity, gift exchange, incentive contracts, field experiments

JEL Classification: J33, M52, C93

Suggested Citation

Bellemare, Charles and Shearer, Bruce, Gift Exchange within a Firm: Evidence from a Field Experiment (March 2007). CIRPEE Working Paper No. 07-08, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=975671 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.975671

Charles Bellemare

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE)

Pavillon De Sève
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bruce Shearer (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada
418-656-2131 (Phone)
418-656-7798 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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