Economic stability promotes gift-exchange in the workplace

Hernán Bejarano, Profesor Investigador Titular de la División de Economía del CIDE, Brice Corgnet y Joaquín Gómez-Miñambres escribieron el artículo Economic stability promotes gift-exchange in the workplace en el Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.



We extend Akerlof’s (1982) gift-exchange model to the case in which reference wages respond to changes in economic conditions. Our model shows that these changes spur disagreements between workers and employers regarding the reference wage. These disagreements tend to weaken the gift-exchange relationship, thus reducing production levels and wages. We find support for these predictions in a controlled yet realistic workplace environment. Our work also sheds light on several stylized facts regarding employment relationships, such as the increased intensity of labor conflicts when economic conditions are unstable.

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