Falk, Armin Kosse, Fabian Menrath, Ingo Verde, Pablo Emilio Siegrist, Johannes
Year of Publication:
SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 715
This paper investigates physiological responses to perceptions of unfair pay. We use an integrated approach exploiting complementarities between controlled lab and representative field data. In a simple principal-agent experiment agents produce revenue by working on a tedious task. Principals decide how this revenue is allocated between themselves and their agents. Throughout the experiment we record agents' heart rate variability, which is an indicator of stress-related impaired cardiac autonomic control and has been shown to predict coronary heart diseases in the long-run. Using three measures of perceived unfairness our findings establish a link between unfair payment and heart rate variability. Building on these findings, we further test for potential adverse health effects of unfair pay using data from a large representative data set. The analysis includes cross-sectional and dynamic panel estimations. Complementary to our experimental findings we find a strong and highly significant negative association between health outcomes, in particular cardiovascular health, and the perception of unfair pay.
fairness social preferences inequality heart rate variability health experiments SOEP