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The Currency of Reciprocity - Gift-Exchange in the Workplace


Kube, Sebastian; Maréchal, Michel; Puppe, Clemens (2011). The Currency of Reciprocity - Gift-Exchange in the Workplace. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 377, University of Zurich.

Abstract

What determines reciprocity in employment relations? We conducted a controlled field experiment to measure the extent to which monetary and non-monetary gifts affect workers’ performance. We find that non-monetary gifts have a much stronger impact than monetary gifts of equivalent value. We also observe that when workers are offered the choice, they prefer receiving money but reciprocate as if they received a non-monetary gift. This result is consistent with the common saying, "it’s the thought that counts". We underline this point by showing that also monetary gifts can effectively trigger reciprocity if the employer invests more time and effort into the gift’s presentation.

Abstract

What determines reciprocity in employment relations? We conducted a controlled field experiment to measure the extent to which monetary and non-monetary gifts affect workers’ performance. We find that non-monetary gifts have a much stronger impact than monetary gifts of equivalent value. We also observe that when workers are offered the choice, they prefer receiving money but reciprocate as if they received a non-monetary gift. This result is consistent with the common saying, "it’s the thought that counts". We underline this point by showing that also monetary gifts can effectively trigger reciprocity if the employer invests more time and effort into the gift’s presentation.

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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
JEL Classification:C93, J30
Language:English
Date:August 2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:13
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 12:31
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Additional Information:Revised version
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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