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Effort and comparison income: experimental and survey evidence

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This paper considers the effect of status or relative income on work effort, combining experimental evidence from a gift-exchange game with the analysis of multi-country ISSP survey data. We find a consistent negative effect of others’ incomes on individual effort in both datasets. The individual’s rank in the income distribution is a stronger determinant of effort than is others’ average income, suggesting that comparisons are more ordinal than cardinal. In the experiment, effort is also affected by comparisons over time: those who received higher income offers or enjoyed higher income rank in the past exert lower levels of effort for a given current income and rank.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28502/1/dp0886.pdf

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