nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2015‒08‒01
five papers chosen by
Tommaso Reggiani
Universität zu Köln

  1. Inequality when Effort Matters By Martin Ravallion
  2. Human capital in the structural transformation process of rural areas and agriculture By Dudek, Michał; Chmieliński, Paweł; Karwat-Woźniak, Bożena; Wrzochalska, Agnieszka
  3. What good are skills, anyway? Estimating the returns to specific skills in a college education By Rakitan, Timothy J.; Artz, Georgeanne M.
  4. Long Term Impacts of Vouchers for Vocational Training: Experimental Evidence for Colombia By Orazio Attanasio; Arlen Guarín; Carlos Medina; Costas Meghir
  5. Goals as Reference Points: Empirical Evidence from a Virtual Reward System By Tobias Mutter; Dennis Kundisch

  1. By: Martin Ravallion
    Abstract: It is sometimes argued that poorer people choose to work less, implying less welfare inequality than suggested by observed incomes. Social policies have also acknowledged that efforts differ, and that people respond to incentives. Prevailing measures of inequality (in outcomes or opportunities) do not, however, measure incomes consistently with personal choices of effort. The direction of bias is unclear given the heterogeneity in efforts and preferences. Data on the labor supplies of single American adults suggest that adjusting for effort imposing common preferences attenuates inequality, although the effect is small. Allowing for preference heterogeneity consistently with behavior suggests higher inequality.
    JEL: D31 D63 I32 J22
    Date: 2015–07
  2. By: Dudek, Michał; Chmieliński, Paweł; Karwat-Woźniak, Bożena; Wrzochalska, Agnieszka
    Abstract: The aim of the publication is a summary of the results of all the research work carried out during the period 2011-2014. Rural areas 10 years after the EU accession. Selected determinants of human capital of rural population. Human capital of surveyed farm managers. Employment in Polish agriculture – rationalisation processes and directions of non-agricultural rural development.
    Keywords: rural areas, human capital, rural development, Community/Rural/Urban Development, International Development, Labor and Human Capital,
    Date: 2014
  3. By: Rakitan, Timothy J.; Artz, Georgeanne M.
    Abstract: How does the labor market reward the specific skills learned by college students? We use a novel data set that combines earnings, demographic and college transcript data for over 5,000 graduates of a large university to investigate how their skill development has been compensated during their experience in the labor market. Using student academic records to generate measures of skills acquisition in the areas of mathematics and communication, among others, we estimate the contribution of our skills acquisition measures to graduates’ later incomes. We find that, consistent with established literature, the significance of even broad categories of skills diminishes as controls are added, although female graduates experience significant returns to quantitative coursework. These results are robust to different specifications, including controlling for innate ability via proxy measures.
    Keywords: earnings, college major, specific skills, curriculum, Labor and Human Capital, J24,
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Orazio Attanasio; Arlen Guarín (Banco de la República de Colombia); Carlos Medina (Banco de la República de Colombia); Costas Meghir
    Abstract: We use experimental data of a training program in 2005 in Colombia. We find that even up to ten years ahead, the JeA program had a positive and significant effect on the probability to work in the formal sector, and to work for a large firm. Applicants in the treatment group also contributed more months to social security during the analyzed period. Earnings of treated applicants were 11.8% higher in the whole sample, and they made larger contributions to social security. We also present non parametric bounds showing that for some percentiles of the sample of women, there are positive and nearly significant effects of the program. Thus, the effects of the program would have been capitalized both in increases in the likelihood of being formal, and increases in productivity. We also present evidence that the estimated program effects on the likelihood of working for the formal sector, the likelihood of working for a large firm, and the earnings in the formal sector, are not an artifact of analyzing multiple outcomes. We also find those in the treatment group have 0.315 more years of education, and have a probability of graduating from high school 10 percent higher than the control group. We find no significant effect on the probability of attending college or any school program, nor on fertility decisions, marital status or some dimensions of assortative mating. Among applicants matching to the census of the poorest population, we find that beneficiaries are more likely to participate in the labor market, to be employed, and to be enrolled in a private health insurance at the time of the survey. Finally, we find that the benefits of the JeA program are higher than it costs, leading to an internal rate of return of at least 22.1 percent. Classification JEL: J24, M53
    Keywords: Vocational Training, Human Capital, Skills, Occupational Choice, Labor Productivity
    Date: 2015–07
  5. By: Tobias Mutter (University of Paderborn); Dennis Kundisch (University of Paderborn)
    Abstract: Heath et al. (1999) propose a prospect theory model for goal behavior which offers insights on how goals affect individual and group performance. Their analytical model is based on the assumption that goals inherit the main properties of the prospect theory value function, i.e., reference point dependence, loss aversion, and diminishing sensitivity. Evidence from laboratory experiments as well as first evidence from the field support this modeling choice. In this paper, we complement this work by investigating whether the main properties of the prospect theory value function transfer to goal behavior in the field. In particular, we analyze how individual performance is affected by the presence of goals. For our research, we take user activity data from a popular German Question & Answer community and analyze how users adjust their contribution behavior in the days surrounding goal achievement, where goals are represented by badges. We find that users gradually increase their performance in the days prior to earning a badge, with performance peaking on the day of the promotion. In subsequent days, user performance gradually diminishes again, with the decline being strongest on the day immediately following the badge achievement. Overall, user performance is higher in the days preceding badge achievement, compared to subsequent days. These findings reflect the characteristic S-shape of the prospect theory value function which is convex below the reference point and concave above it. Our results thus support the transferability of the main properties of the prospect theory value function to goal behavior in the field and suggest a distinct shape of the value function around goals.
    Keywords: Goal-Setting Theory, Prospect Theory, Value Function, Gamification, Badges
    JEL: M52 M31
    Date: 2014–12

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