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Fairness in the Labour Market - A Survey of Experimental Results


Gächter, Simon; Fehr, Ernst (2002). Fairness in the Labour Market - A Survey of Experimental Results. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 114, University of Zurich.

Abstract

In this chapter we provide a selective survey of experiments to investigate the potential of social motivations in explaining labour market phenomena. We argue that laboratory experiments are a useful instrument to explore issues in labour market theory and personnel economics. Our starting point is the observation that employment relations are frequently governed by incomplete contracts. We show that the norm of reciprocity that leads to gift exchanges is an effective contract enforcement device under conditions of contractual incompleteness. We then present evidence that gift exchange can explain various labour market phenomena that are puzzles from the viewpoint of standard economic theory. Further issues in the related field of personnel economics that have by now been subjected to an experimental scrutiny concern characteristics of the employment relation and the issues of motivation and incentives systems.

In this chapter we provide a selective survey of experiments to investigate the potential of social motivations in explaining labour market phenomena. We argue that laboratory experiments are a useful instrument to explore issues in labour market theory and personnel economics. Our starting point is the observation that employment relations are frequently governed by incomplete contracts. We show that the norm of reciprocity that leads to gift exchanges is an effective contract enforcement device under conditions of contractual incompleteness. We then present evidence that gift exchange can explain various labour market phenomena that are puzzles from the viewpoint of standard economic theory. Further issues in the related field of personnel economics that have by now been subjected to an experimental scrutiny concern characteristics of the employment relation and the issues of motivation and incentives systems.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:April 2002
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 21:26
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:10
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-52014

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