nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2012‒09‒30
fifteen papers chosen by
Tommaso Reggiani
University of Cologne

  1. Do Employees Reciprocate to Intra-Firm Trainings? An Analysis of Absenteeism and Turnover Rates By Katrin Breuer; Patrick Kampkoetter
  2. "Employability-Miles" and Worker Employability Awareness By Gerards, Ruud; de Grip, Andries; Witlox, Maaike
  3. Career concerns: A human capital perspective By Camargo, Braz; Pastorino, Elena
  4. High Performance Work Practices and Workplace Training in China: Evidence from Matched Employee-Employer Data By Vinod Mishra; Russell Smyth
  5. The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital. The Role of Skills and Health By Lundborg, Petter; Nordin, Martin; Rooth, Dan Olof
  6. Trade Union Membership and Sickness Absence: Evidence from a Sick Pay Reform By Goerke, Laszlo; Pannenberg, Markus
  7. Agency, Firm Growth, and Managerial Turnover By Ronald W. Anderson; M. Cecilia Bustamante; Stéphane Guibaud
  8. Letting Down the Team? Social Effects of Team Incentives By Babcock, Philip; Bedard, Kelly; Charness, Gary; Hartman, John; Royer, Heather
  9. Work Design Practices: Do Trade Unions Make a Difference? By Tomislav Hernaus; Ana Aleksić; Ivana Marić
  10. Taxes and Investment in Skills By Carolina Torres
  11. Firm Insurance and Sickness Absence of Employees By Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C.; Pertold, Filip
  12. Human capital mobility and convergence : a spatial dynamic panel model of the German regions By Kubis, Alexander; Schneider, Lutz
  13. Civil conflict and human capital accumulation: The long-term effects of political violence in Perú By Gianmarco León
  14. Incentives and Group Identity By Masella, Paolo; Meier, Stephan; Zahn, Philipp
  15. The Dark Side of Competition for Status By Charness, Gary; Masclet, David; Villeval, Marie Claire

  1. By: Katrin Breuer (University of Cologne); Patrick Kampkoetter (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: This paper studies the behavioral effects of intra-firm trainings on absence behavior and turnover probability. We argue that participation in firm-sponsored trainings might lead to behavioral responses among employees. When firms pay for general trainings, employees may perceive this as a gift to which they can reciprocate by providing higher levels of effort or commitment. Based on the personnel records of a large multinational firm we find that, in contrast to human capital predictions, general trainings lead to a decrease in turnover rates. Furthermore, a short-term decrease in absenteeism indicates a temporary, reciprocal reaction by employees.
    Keywords: Training, Human Capital, Reciprocity, Turnover, Absenteeism
    JEL: D64 J24 J31 M50 M53
    Date: 2012–09–13
  2. By: Gerards, Ruud (ROA, Maastricht University); de Grip, Andries (ROA, Maastricht University); Witlox, Maaike (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: This article studies the use and impact of a firm-sponsored training ("Employability-miles") voucher scheme that aims to stimulate employees to develop a more active attitude toward their own employability. Using data from two surveys of the firm's workforce, we find that voucher use is related to various personality traits and personal characteristics. In particular, a worker's ambition, goal setting, and education level are positively related to voucher use. In addition, women and those with longer tenure spend their vouchers more often. Conversely, workers with a more positive self-image as well as those who are negatively reciprocal spend their vouchers less often. The negative relation between voucher use and negative reciprocity suggests that workers who are more negatively reciprocal perceive the voucher as an HR tool for outplacement. Further, we find that voucher use positively affects worker employability awareness and willingness to train. Remarkably, participation in non-voucher training shows little relation to personality traits. From a human resources perspective, this finding suggests that by employing a voucher scheme, the firm makes training participation more dependent on employee personality and individual characteristics instead of the human resources development strategy of the firm.
    Keywords: employability, voucher, training, human resource development, human capital
    JEL: J24 M53
    Date: 2012–08
  3. By: Camargo, Braz; Pastorino, Elena
    Abstract: We introduce human capital accumulation, in the form of learning by doing, in a life cycle model of career concerns and analyze how human capital acquisition a ects implicit incentives for performance. We show that standard results from the career concerns literature can be reversed in the presence of human capital accumulation.Namely, implicit incentives need not decrease over time and may decrease with thedegree of uncertainty about an individual's talent. Furthermore, increasing the pre-cision of output measurement can weaken rather than strengthen implicit incentives.Overall, our results contribute to shed new light on the ability of markets to disciplinemoral hazard in the absence of explicit contracts linking pay to performance.
    Date: 2012–09–12
  4. By: Vinod Mishra; Russell Smyth
    Abstract: This study examines the extent to which high performance work practices (HPWP) are correlated with participation in, and frequency and duration of, workplace training, controlling for worker and workplace characteristics. To do so, the study uses a unique matched employee-employer dataset from Shanghai. The findings suggest that about half of the HPWP considered are positively correlated with the incidence and breadth of workplace training. There is also some support for the view that bundling of HPWP is positively correlated with the provision of workplace training. There is, however, no evidence that the adoption of HPWP polarizes skills through resulting in more training for professional/technical staff over others.
    Keywords: China, Training, High performance work practices, Shanghai
    Date: 2012–09
  5. By: Lundborg, Petter (Department of Economics, Lund University); Nordin, Martin (Department of Economics, Lund University); Rooth, Dan Olof (Linnaeus University)
    Abstract: We provide new evidence on the causal mechanisms reflected in the intergenerational transmission of human capital. Applying both an adoption and a twin design to rich data from the Swedish military enlistment, we show that greater parental education increases son's cognitive and non-cognitive skills, as well as their health. The estimates are in many cases similar across research designs and suggest that a substantial part of the effect of parental education on the children's education works through improving children's skills and health.
    Keywords: Intergenerational Transmission; Human Capital; Education; Health
    JEL: C41 I11 I12 J12 J14
    Date: 2012–09–12
  6. By: Goerke, Laszlo (IAAEG, University of Trier); Pannenberg, Markus (Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences)
    Abstract: In 1996, statutory sick pay was reduced for private sector workers in Germany. Using the empirical observation that trade union members are dismissed less often than non-members, we construct a model to predict how absence behaviour will respond to the sick pay reform. We show that union members may have stronger incentives to be absent and to react to the cut in sick pay. In the empirical investigation, we find a positive relationship between trade union membership and absence due to sickness and observe more pronounced reactions to the cut in sick pay among union members than among non-members. These findings suggest that more flexibility in the use of paid absence due to sickness constitutes a private gain from trade union membership.
    Keywords: difference-in-differences, sickness-related absence, Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), statutory sick pay, trade union membership
    JEL: I18 J51 J22
    Date: 2012–08
  7. By: Ronald W. Anderson; M. Cecilia Bustamante; Stéphane Guibaud
    Abstract: We study managerial incentive provision under moral hazard in a firm subject to stochastic growth opportunities. In our model, managers are dismissed after poor performance, but also when an alternative manager is more capable of growing the firm. The optimal contract may involve managerial entrenchment, such that growth opportunities are foregone after good performance. Firms with better growth prospects have higher managerial turnover and more front-loaded compensation. Firms may pay severance to incentivize their managers to report truthfully the arrival of growth opportunities. By ignoring the externality of the dismissal policy onto future managers, the optimal contract implies excessive retention.
    Date: 2012–09
  8. By: Babcock, Philip; Bedard, Kelly; Charness, Gary; Hartman, John; Royer, Heather
    Abstract: This paper estimates social effects of incentivizing people in teams. In two fieldexperiments featuring exogenous team formation and opportunities for repeated socialinteractions, we find large team effects that operate through social channels. The teamcompensation system induced agents to choose effort as if they valued a marginal dollar ofcompensation for their teammate from two-thirds as much (in one study) to twice as much asthey valued a dollar of their own compensation (in the other study). We conclude that socialeffects of monetary team incentives exist and can induce effort at lower cost than through directindividual payment.
    Keywords: Economics, General, Economics, Other, Applied Economics, field experiment, team incentives, social effects
    Date: 2012–08–10
  9. By: Tomislav Hernaus; Ana Aleksić; Ivana Marić
    Abstract: Work design and implementation of various work design practices can be constrained or fostered by various factors, among which trade unions should be considered as an important one. Research conducted among large-sized Croatian companies shows that it is possible to recognize significant differences among union- and non-union organizations regarding the use of innovative work design practices. Independent samples t-test revealed that non-union organizations use flexible working arrangements more extensively than their unionized counterparts. Additionally, traditional job design strategies and teamwork practices are also more represented within non-unionized work setting. Research findings clearly indicate how trade unions have a significant impact on the implementation of different work design practices. In other words, their influence on work design practice should not be neglected.
    Keywords: Work design, trade unions, human resource management, Croatia
    JEL: J51 M12
    Date: 2012–09–01
  10. By: Carolina Torres
    Abstract: This paper considers the influence of taxes on the financial incentive to invest in human capital and explores the tax treatment of private investment by individuals and employers in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning in 31 OECD countries, India and South Africa. The paper describes targeted personal, corporate and value added tax measures related to education and training and analyses them in terms of their impacts on the incentive to acquire skills and their distributional effects. The desirability of different forms of tax relief for skills formation is examined from the point of view of efficiency, equity and administrative simplicity within the broader context of fiscal policy and the role of government in skills formation beyond compulsory education.
    Keywords: human capital, tax policy, OECD countries, skills formation, tax incentives, education finance
    JEL: H21 H24 H25 I22 J24
    Date: 2012–09–17
  11. By: Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C. (Aarhus University); Pertold, Filip (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of firms' participation in an insurance scheme on the long-term sickness absence of their employees, using administrative records. In Denmark and several other European countries, firms are obliged to cover the first two weeks of sickness. The insurance scheme is provided by government authority and is designed to help small firms with the financial burden related to sickness absence of their workers. We use an exogenously-set threshold for the eligibility as a policy experiment. Using regression discontinuity in the fuzzy form, we show that sickness absence in insured firms is much more prevalent than in uninsured firms. Sickness spells in insured firms are shorter and the conditional probability to return back to work from sickness is much higher in insured firms. These results suggest that employees in insured firms are less monitored during the first two weeks and that their sickness is less serious. We demonstrate in the paper that the minimum cost of the present insurance scheme is similar to about 1100 man-years. On top of that comes a substantial cost to more short time sickness.
    Keywords: sickness absence, moral hazard, insurance for employers
    JEL: I12 J28
    Date: 2012–08
  12. By: Kubis, Alexander (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Schneider, Lutz
    Abstract: "Since the fall of the iron curtain in 1989, the migration deficit of the Eastern part of Germany has accumulated to 1.8 million people, which is over 10 percent of its initial population. Depending on their human capital endowment, these migrants might either - in the case of low-skilled migration - accelerate or - in high-skilled case - impede convergence. Due to the availability of detailed data on regional human capital, migration and productivity growth, we are able to test how geographic mobility affects convergence via the human capital selectivity of migration. With regard to the endogeneity of the migration flows and human capital, we apply a dynamic panel data model within the framework of ß-convergence and account for spatial dependence. The regressions indicate a positive, robust, but modest effect of a migration surplus on regional productivity growth. After controlling for human capital, the effect of migration decreases; this decrease indicates that skill selectivity is one way that migration impacts growth." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Keywords: Binnenwanderung, Qualifikationsniveau, regionale Disparität, Konvergenz, Zuwanderung, Abwanderung, Ostdeutschland, Westdeutschland, Bundesrepublik Deutschland
    JEL: R23 R11 C23
    Date: 2012–09–24
  13. By: Gianmarco León
    Abstract: This paper provides empirical evidence of the persistent effect of exposure to political violence on human capital accumulation. I exploit the variation in conflict location and birth cohorts to identify the longand short-term effects of the civil war on educational attainment. Conditional on being exposed to violence, the average person accumulates 0.31 less years of education as an adult. In the short-term, the effects are stronger than in the long-run; these results hold when comparing children within the same household. Further, exposure to violence during early childhood leads to permanent losses. I also explore the potential causal mechanisms.
    Keywords: Civil Conflict, Education, Persistence, Economic shocks, Perú
    JEL: I20 J13 O12 O15 F5
    Date: 2012–03
  14. By: Masella, Paolo (University of Mannheim); Meier, Stephan (Columbia University); Zahn, Philipp (University of Mannheim)
    Abstract: This paper investigates in a principal-agent environment whether and how group membership influences the effectiveness of incentives and when incentives can have “hidden costs”, i.e., a detrimental effect. We show experimentally that in all interactions control mechanisms can have hidden costs for reasons specific to group membership. In within-group interactions control has detrimental effects because the agent does not expect to be controlled and reacts negatively when being controlled. In between-group interactions, agents perceive control more hostile once we condition on their beliefs about principal's behavior. Our finding contributes to the micro-foundation of psychological effects of incentives.
    Keywords: crowding out, motivation, incentives, social preferences, social identity, trust, experiment
    JEL: C91 D03 Z13
    Date: 2012–08
  15. By: Charness, Gary; Masclet, David; Villeval, Marie Claire
    Abstract: Unethical behavior within companies is not rare. We investigate experimentally therole of status-seeking behavior in sabotage and cheating activities aiming at improving one’sperformance ranking in a flat-wage environment. We find that average effort is higher whenindividuals are informed about their relative performance. However, ranking feedback alsofavors disreputable behavior. Some individuals do not hesitate to incur a cost to improve theirrank by sabotaging others’ work or by increasing artificially their own performance. Introducingsabotage opportunities has a strong detrimental effect on performance. Therefore, rankingincentives should be used with care. Inducing group identity discourages sabotage among peersbut increases in-group rivalry.
    Keywords: Economics, Other, Economics, General, status, ranking, feedback, sabotage, doping, competitive preferences, experiment
    Date: 2012–07–18

This nep-hrm issue is ©2012 by Tommaso Reggiani. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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