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Title:The impact of social comparisons on reciprocity PDF Logo
Authors:Gächter, Simon
Nosenzo, Daniele
Sefton, Martin
Issue Date:2010
Series/Report no.:CeDEx discussion paper series 2010-10
Abstract:This paper investigates how social comparison information about referent others (i.e. learning what similar others do and how they are treated) affects reciprocal relationships. Using a three-person gift-exchange game we study how employees' reciprocity towards an employer is affected by exposure to pay comparison information (what co-workers earn) and effort comparison information (how co-workers perform). We find that pay comparison information comparison information (how co-workers perform). We find that pay comparison information does not affect reciprocity. Effort comparison information, however, influences reciprocal relationships in important ways: the ability to observe reciprocal behavior on the part of others strongly affects employees' reciprocity towards the employer. While our data show that social information in principle may either erode or amplify reciprocal relationships, we find that, on average, social comparisons have a detrimental impact on reciprocity.
Subjects:reciprocity
gift-exchange
social information
social comparisons
pay comparisons
JEL:A13
C92
J31
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:CeDEx Discussion Paper Series, The University of Nottingham

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