A gift is not always a gift: heterogeneity and long-term effects in a gift exchange experiment

Sascha O. Becker, Dolores Messer, Stefan C. Wolter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


We study gift exchange in a field experiment where a random subsample of participants in the Swiss Labour Force Survey received vouchers to be used in adult training. Actual voucher redemption can be traced, giving us the unique opportunity to study whether gift exchange in the form of participation in future rounds of the survey depends on the perceived usefulness of the gift. The group of voucher recipients as a whole has significantly higher response rates. There is considerable heterogeneity, however. Our results point to a long-lasting gift exchange relationship only for the subgroup that redeemed their vouchers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-371
Number of pages27
Issue number318
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Field experiment
  • Gift exchange
  • Long-run effects
  • Reciprocity

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