nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2012‒09‒16
eight papers chosen by
Tommaso Reggiani
University of Cologne

  1. The returns to occupation-specific human capital - Evidence from mobility after training By Barbara Mueller; Juerg Schweri
  2. Training Participation of a Firm's Aging Workforce By Christian Pfeifer; Simon Janssen; Philip Yang; Uschi Backes-Gellner
  3. Job design and innovative work behavior enabling innovation through active or low-strain jobs? By De Spiegelaere, Stan; Van Gyes, Guy; Vandekerckhove, Sem; Van Hootegem, Geert
  4. Social Incentives Matter: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment By Mirco Tonin; Michael Vlassopoulos
  5. Sloppy Work, Lies and Theft: A Novel Experimental Design to Study Counterproductive Behaviour By Michèle Belot; Marina Schröder
  6. Start-up export intensity: An empirical investigation of the impact of absorptive capacity and business owner human and social capital By Jonas Debrulle
  7. Start-up absorptive capacity: Does the owner’s human and social capital matter? By Jonas Debrulle
  8. Labour precariousness and make do and mend after redundancy at Anglesey Aluminium: critiquing Human Capital Theory By Tony Dobbins; Alexandra Plows; Huw Lloyd-Williams

  1. By: Barbara Mueller (Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET)); Juerg Schweri (Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET))
    Abstract: Using a longitudinal dataset based on the PISA 2000 survey, we analyze the effect of inter-firm and occupational mobility on post-training wages in Switzerland to assess the transferability of the human capital acquired in training. We show that OLS provides a lower bound estimate of the wage effects of inter-firm and occupational mobility. Inter-firm mobility has no significant wage effect in OLS regressions. However, those who stay in their occupational field earn about 5 percent more than their colleagues who change occupation. We find no evidence for adverse selection when accounting only for apprentices’ level of ability. Accounting for the endogeneity of mobility tends to increase the estimated wage differential between occupation stayers and changers, but not between firm stayers and movers. We conclude that occupation-specific human capital is an important component of apprenticeship training and accounts for a part of the returns to training.
    Keywords: apprenticeship; endogenous treatment; human capital; mobility; PISA; occupation; school-to-work transition; training
    JEL: C25 J24 J31 J62
    Date: 2012–08
  2. By: Christian Pfeifer (Institute of Economics, Leuphana University Lüneburg and IZA Bonn, Germany); Simon Janssen (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich); Philip Yang (Leibniz University Hannover, Institute of Labor Economics); Uschi Backes-Gellner (Department of Business Administration, University of Zurich)
    Abstract: We use a long panel data set for four cohorts of male blue-collar workers entering into an internal labor market to analyze the effect of age on the probability of participating in different employer-financed training measures. We find that training participation probabilities are inverted u-shaped with age and that longer training measures are undertaken earlier in life and working career. These findings are consistent with predictions from a human capital model that incorporates amortization period and screening effects.
    Keywords: Age; Human capital; Internal labor markets; Training
    JEL: J14 J24 M53
    Date: 2012–08
  3. By: De Spiegelaere, Stan; Van Gyes, Guy; Vandekerckhove, Sem; Van Hootegem, Geert
    Abstract: Promoting the innovative potential of employees is a main challenge for HR professionals. Previous studies already stressed the role of job design for employee innovativeness. Building on the work of Karasek & Theorell (1990), we focus on the relation between job design, work engagement and innovative work behaviour (IWB). The results show that job control is positively related to both IWB and work engagement, job demands are negatively related to work engagement, yet their relation to IWB is more ambiguous. Significant interaction effects between job demands and job control variables in both the relation with work engagement and IWB are found, yet their nature differs significantly. We find that active jobs (high control and high demands) are related to lower levels of IWB in comparison to low-strain jobs (high control, low demands), which has major managerial consequences.
    Keywords: Innovative Work Behavior; Job Design; Time Pressure; Work Engagement; Employee Innovation
    JEL: D23 D29 D01
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Mirco Tonin; Michael Vlassopoulos
    Abstract: Contributing to a social cause can be an important driver for workers in the public and non-profit sector as well as in firms that engage in Corporate Social Responsibility activities. This paper compares the effectiveness of social incentives to financial incentives using an online real effort experiment. We find that social incentives lead to a 20% rise in productivity, regardless of their form (lump sum or related to performance) or strength. When subjects can choose the mix of incentives half sacrifice some of their private compensation to increase social compensation, with women more likely than men. Furthermore, social incentives do not attract less productive subjects, nor subjects that respond more to exogenously imposed social incentives. Our calculations suggest that a dollar spent on social incentives is equivalent to increasing private compensation by at least half a dollar.
    Date: 2012–07–20
  5. By: Michèle Belot (School of Management, University of Edinburgh); Marina Schröder (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: We propose a novel experimental design to study counterproductive behaviour in a principal agent setting. The design allows us to study and derive clean measures of different forms of counterproductive behaviour in a controlled but non obtrusive manner. We ask participants to complete a specific task (identify euro coins) and report their output. Participants can engage in various forms of counterproductive behaviour, none of them being offered to them explicitly. They can make mistakes in the identification task, lie in their report or even steal coins. We present an application of the design to study the effects of different pay schemes (competition, fixed pay and piece rate) on counterproductive behaviour. On average counterproductive behaviour amounts to 10 percent of the average productivity, almost all arising through mistakes and overreporting of output. We find essentially no evidence of theft. Moreover, we find that both productive and counterproductive behaviour are significantly higher under competition than under the two other pay schemes.
    Keywords: counterproductive behaviour, compensation, experiment, competition, piece rate, ?fixed pay
    JEL: C91 J24 J30 M52
    Date: 2012–08
  6. By: Jonas Debrulle
    Abstract: This study investigates the influence of business owner human and social capital on start-up export intensity. In addition, building on the knowledge-based view of the firm, we assume the relationships between owner characteristics and firm export activities to be moderated by the start-up’s absorptive capacity, which designates its ability to acquire, assimilate and exploit new information. Flemish start-ups form this study’s empirical setting. Our results indicate that start-up export intensity is (1) driven by the business owner’s formal education and start-up experience, while (2) weakened by his/her accumulated management experience. Furthermore, we find evidence that start-up absorptive capacity significantly moderates the export impact of the owner’s human capital. Finally, implications and opportunities for future research are suggested.
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Jonas Debrulle
    Abstract: This study investigates how business owner human and social capital affect start-up absorptive capacity under different environmental conditions. From our analysis of a sample of 199 Flemish start-ups, we observe that the owner’s start-up experience and bridging social capital are positively and significantly related to the new venture’s ability to acquire, assimilate and exploit external information. In addition, our findings reveal a positive but decreasing effect of owner specific human capital as a function of environmental turbulence. Furthermore, we find that management experience significantly stimulates start-up absorptive capacity within highly dynamic environments, whereas it hinders it within stable environments. Finally, implications and opportunities for future research are provided.
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Tony Dobbins (Bangor Business School); Alexandra Plows (School of Social Sciences, Bangor University); Huw Lloyd-Williams (College of Business, Social Sciences and Law, Bangor University)
    Abstract: This paper tracks workers experiences of and responses to redundancy, and the impact on the local labour market, following the closure of a large employer, Anglesey Aluminium (AA), on Anglesey in North Wales. We draw on these findings to produce a critical challenge to Human Capital Theory (HCT) and its influence on sustaining neo-liberal policy orthodoxy with its focus on supplying skilled and employable workers in isolation from other necessary ingredients in the policy recipe. We conclude that HCT and associated policy orthodoxy has contributed to market failure. Ex-AA workers faced a paradox of being overqualified but underemployed. Some workers re-skilled but there were insufficient (quality) job opportunities commensurate with the employment they had left. In picking up the pieces following redundancy, many workers found themselves part of an expanding labour precariat with little choice but to make do and mend.
    Keywords: Human Capital Theory, Job Quality, Opportunity Bargain, Precariat, Redundancy, Restructuring.
    Date: 2012–06

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