Experimental Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 433–459 | Cite as

Social comparisons in wage delegation: experimental evidence

  • Gary Charness
  • Ramón Cobo-Reyes
  • Juan A. Lacomba
  • Francisco Lagos
  • Jose Maria Perez
Original Paper


We make two main contributions in this article. We examine whether social comparisons affects workers’ performance when a firm can choose workers’ wages or let them choose their own. Firms can delegate the wage decision to neither, one or both workers in the firm. We vary the information workers receive, finding that social comparisons concerning both wages and decision rights affect workers’ performance. Our second contribution is methodological. We find that our treatment effects are present with both stated effort and a real-effort task, which suggests that both approaches may yield similar results in labor experiments.


Delegation Discrimination Experiment Real effort Social comparisons Stated effort 

JEL Classification

C91 D01 J3 J41 



Financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (SEJ2010-17049/ECON; SEJ2009-11117/ECON, ECO2012-36695), the Division of Social Sciences and the Department of Economics at UCSB, and Junta de Andalucía (P07-SEJ-02547; P07-SEJ-3261) is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

10683_2015_9448_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary Charness
    • 1
  • Ramón Cobo-Reyes
    • 3
  • Juan A. Lacomba
    • 4
  • Francisco Lagos
    • 4
  • Jose Maria Perez
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.University of GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.University of Exeter Business SchoolExeterUK
  4. 4.Departamento de Teoria e Historia EconomicaUniversity of Granada & GlobeGranadaSpain

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