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The currency of reciprocity - gift-exchange in the workplace

Sebastian Kube, Michel Maréchal () and Clemens Puppe ()

No 25, Working Paper Series in Economics from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering

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 nonmonetary 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 the money but reciprocate as if they received a nonmonetary 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.

Keywords: field experiment; reciprocity; gift exchange; non-monetary gifts; in-kind gifts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 J30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp, nep-hrm, nep-lab and nep-soc
Date: 2011
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https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/45629/1/657459976.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: The Currency of Reciprocity: Gift Exchange in the Workplace (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: The currency of reciprocity - gift-exchange in the workplace (2011) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:kitwps:25

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