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The Currency of Reciprocity -- Gift-Exchange in the Workplace

By Sebastian Kube, Michel André Maréchal and Clemens Puppe


What determines reciprocity in employment relations? We conducted a controlled eld experiment and tested the extent to which cash and non-monetary gifts affect workers' productivity. Our main nding is that the nature of the gift, not its monetary value, determines the prevalence of reciprocal reactions. A gift in-kind results in a significant and substantial increase in workers ' productivity. An equivalent cash gift, on the other hand, is largely ine ective even though an additional experiment showed that workers would strongly favor the gift's cash equivalent

Topics: eld experiment, reciprocity, gift exchange, fringe bene ts, perks, compensation
Year: 2008
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