Do Job Candidates' Effort Promises Matter When the Labor Market is Competitive? Experimental Evidence

Arnold, Markus C.; Grasser, Robert A. (2021). Do Job Candidates' Effort Promises Matter When the Labor Market is Competitive? Experimental Evidence. Journal of management accounting research, 34(2), pp. 1-21. American Accounting Association 10.2308/JMAR-19-067

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Using an experiment, we investigate whether job candidates' noncontractible effort promises increase their actual effort in the work relationship when the labor market is competitive. Due to promise-keeping preferences, individuals tend to keep promises even if doing so is costly. However, when promises can be made strategically to influence hiring decisions, it is unclear whether workers are less likely to keep their promises. We develop theory to predict that making effort promises matters even more when labor markets are competitive. We find workers promise higher effort levels when competing for a job than when they do not, but do not keep promises to a lesser extent although the costs of promise-keeping increase with the promise size, thereby increasing the total effort provided. The results enhance our understanding of the effects of worker-employer communication during hiring, particularly in a competitive setting in which such communication is most likely to occur.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute for Accounting and Controlling > Managerial Accounting

UniBE Contributor:

Arnold, Markus Christopher, Grasser, Robert Andreas


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




American Accounting Association




Xenia Melas

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2022 15:43

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:15

Publisher DOI:



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