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The currency of reciprocity: Gift exchange in the workplace


Kube, Sebastian; Maréchal, Michel André; Puppe, Clemens (2012). The currency of reciprocity: Gift exchange in the workplace. American Economic Review, 102(4):1644-1662.

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:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:16 Feb 2012 07:44
Last Modified:25 Aug 2021 21:52
Publisher:American Economic Association
ISSN:0002-8282
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.102.4.1644
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/51504/
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:4162

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