nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2017‒09‒03
fourteen papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Motivational Goal Bracketing: An Experiment By Koch, Alexander K.; Nafziger, Julia
  2. Are Mutual Fund Managers Paid For Investment Skill? By Ibert, Marcus; Kaniel, Ron; van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn; Vestman, Roine
  3. Examining the link between health measures, management practices and establishment performance By Broszeit, Sandra; Laible, Marie-Christine
  4. More flexibility, better results? Issues in R&D work efficiency By Marko Virkebau; Aaro Hazak; Kadri Männasoo
  5. Supervision and Project Performance: A Principal-Agent Approach By Lisa Chauvet; Paul Collier; Andreas Fuster
  6. Goal Setting, Academic Reminders, and College Success: A Large-Scale Field Experiment By Christopher R. Dobronyi; Philip Oreopoulos; Uros Petronijevic
  7. Gender Stereotyping and Self-Stereotyping Attitudes: A Large Field Study of Managers By Eriksson, Tor; Smith, Nina; Smith, Valdemar
  8. What Chinese Workers Value: An Analysis of Job Satisfaction, Job Expectations, and Labor Turnover in China By Nie, Peng; Sousa-Poza, Alfonso
  9. Management, Supervision, and Health Care: A Field Experiment By Dunsch, Felipe A.; Evans, David K.; Eze-Ajoku, Ezinne; Macis, Mario
  10. Does flexible work make R&D employees happier? By Marit Rebane; Heili Hein; Aaro Hazak
  11. Do Good Working Conditions Make You Work Longer? Evidence on Retirement Decisions Using Linked Survey and Register Data By Böckerman, Petri; Ilmakunnas, Pekka
  12. Moral Hazard: Experimental Evidence from Tenancy Contracts By Burchardi, Konrad B.; Gulesci, Selim; Lerva, Benedetta; Sulaiman, Munshi
  13. The value of reference letters By Martin Abel; Rulof Burger; Patrizio Piraino
  14. The Gender Wage Gap in Europe: Job Preferences, Gender Convergence and Distributional Effects By Redmond, Paul; McGuinness, Seamus

  1. By: Koch, Alexander K. (Aarhus University); Nafziger, Julia (Aarhus University)
    Abstract: We study in an online, real-effort experiment how the bracketing of non-binding goals affects performance in a work-leisure self-control problem. We externally induce the goal bracket – daily goals or a weekly goal – and within that bracket let subjects set goals for how much they want to work over a one-week period. Our theoretical model predicts (i) that weekly goals create incentives to compensate for a lower than desired performance today with the promise to work harder tomorrow, whereas daily goals exclude such excuses; (ii) that subjects with daily goals set higher goals in aggregate and work harder than those with weekly goals. Our data support these predictions. Surprisingly, however, when goals are combined with an externally enforced commitment that requires subjects to spend less than a minute each day on the task to get started working, performance deteriorates because of high dropout rates from the task.
    Keywords: self-control, goals, narrow bracketing, commitment devices, real effort, online experiment
    JEL: D03 D81 D91
    Date: 2017–08
  2. By: Ibert, Marcus; Kaniel, Ron; van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn; Vestman, Roine
    Abstract: Compensation of mutual fund managers is paramount to understanding agency frictions in asset delegation. We collect a unique registry-based dataset on the compensation of Swedish mutual fund managers. We find a concave relationship between pay and revenue, in contrast to how investors compensate the fund company (firm). We also find a surprisingly weak sensitivity of pay to performance, even after accounting for the indirect effects of performance on revenue. Firm-level fixed effects, revenues, and profits add substantial explanatory power for compensation.
    Keywords: financial sector income; mutual fund performance; Portfolio manager compensation
    JEL: G00 G23 J24 J31 J33 J44
    Date: 2017–08
  3. By: Broszeit, Sandra; Laible, Marie-Christine (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "We examine the relationship between establishment-level health measures, Anglo-Saxon management practices and labor productivity, as well as median wages. Based on the observation that management practices are positively associated with establishment outcomes, we test whether health measures have a distinct effect on their own, or if they are already comprised in management practices. Using representative survey data from the German Management and Organizational Practices Survey, we find a strong increase in the use of health measures from 2008 to 2013, predominantly in large establishments. Fixed effects regressions confirm that management practices significantly increase labor productivity, however, health measures do not. The reverse is true for median wages, such that health measures are positively associated with median wages, but management practices are not." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Keywords: betriebliches Gesundheitsmanagement, Lohnhöhe, Arbeitsproduktivität, Unternehmensführung, IAB-Datensatz Management Practices
    JEL: D22 I15 J24 L2 M2
    Date: 2017–08–17
  4. By: Marko Virkebau; Aaro Hazak; Kadri Männasoo
    Abstract: Flexible working time and teleworking have provided grounds for debate among employers, employees, researchers and HR experts. With our study among 153 Estonian creative R&D employees we seek to better understand what the links are between flexible work arrangements and creative work results. We find that flexibility in choosing to work fully or at least partially from home or elsewhere outside the office has a positive effect on the employee’s satisfaction with his/her work results. In regard to working time arrangements, we find that men as well as those with a better education have much better chances of getting jobs that offer flexitime. This in turn has implications for the work outcome, as positions that include flexible working time options are filled by a certain type of employee. Another result from our research is that clearly evening and clearly morning types of people – “owls” and “larks” – are in general more satisfied with their creative work results. This may be due to part of their creative work being done outside normal office hours, providing a potentially less stressful work environment. Overall, employers should consider providing employees more flexibility in the timing and place of work in order to facilitate improved work results – at least in creative R&D jobs.
    Date: 2017–08–31
  5. By: Lisa Chauvet (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris-Dauphine); Paul Collier (Oxford University - Sir William Dunn School of Pathology); Andreas Fuster (Federal Reserve Bank of New-York - Federal Reserve Bank of New-York)
    Abstract: This paper extends and applies principal-agent theory to the performance of donor projects. There is variation in the degree of divergence between the interests of the donor (the principal) and the recipient government (the agent). Further, the effort expended on observation of the agent is a control variable. We show that in a wide range of circumstances an implication of principal-agent theory is that the principal should put greater effort into observation the wider is the divergence of interest with the agent. We then test this prediction using data on World Bank project performance. We measure the degree of divergence between donor and recipient interests, as perceived by the donor, through a donor classification system of recipient governments. Consistent with the theory, we find that donor supervision of projects is significantly more effective in improving project performance where interests are widely divergent. However, donors do not put more effort into the supervision of projects in such cases.
    Abstract: Cet article étend et applique la théorie Principal-Agent à la performance des projets d’aide. Les intérêts du donneur (le principal) et du gouvernement receveur (l’agent) peuvent différer de manière importante. Dans le modèle, l’effort mis en oeuvre pour observer l’agent est une variable de contrôle. Nous montrons qu’une implication du modèle principal-agent est que le principal devrait faire d’autant plus d’effort pour observer l’agent quand ses intérêts divergent de ceux de l’agent. Nous testons ensuite ces prédictions en utilisant les données de performance des projets d’aide de la Banque mondiale. Nous mesurons le degré de divergence entre les intérêts du donneur et du receveur, telle que perçue par le donneur, par la classification des receveurs comme ‘partenariats difficiles’. Comme prédit par le modèle, nous trouvons que la supervision des projets d’aide par le donneur permet d’autant plus d’assurer le succès des projets que les intérêts du donneur et du receveur diffèrent. Toutefois, le donneur ne semble pas faire plus d’effort de supervision dans les partenariats difficiles.
    Keywords: Principal-Agent theory,Aid projects,Difficult partnerships,Théorie Principal-Agent,Projets d’aide,Supervision,Partenariats Difficiles
    Date: 2017–05–10
  6. By: Christopher R. Dobronyi; Philip Oreopoulos; Uros Petronijevic
    Abstract: This paper presents an independent large-scale experimental evaluation of two online goal-setting interventions. Both interventions are based on promising findings from the field of social psychology. Approximately 1,400 first-year undergraduate students at a large Canadian university were randomly assigned to complete one of two online goal-setting treatments or a control task. Additionally, half of treated participants also were offered the opportunity to receive follow-up goal-oriented reminders through e-mail or text messages in an attempt to test a cost-effective method for increasing the saliency of treatment. Across all treatment groups, we observe no evidence of an effect on GPA, course credits, or second year persistence. Our estimates are precise enough to discern a seven percent standardized performance effect at a five percent significance level. Our results hold by subsample, for various outcome variables, and across a number of specifications.
    JEL: I23 J24
    Date: 2017–08
  7. By: Eriksson, Tor (Aarhus School of Business); Smith, Nina (Aarhus University); Smith, Valdemar (Aarhus School of Business)
    Abstract: The dearth of women in top managerial positions is characterized by a high persistence and insensitivity to changes and differences in institutions and policies. This suggests it could be caused by slowly changing social norms and attitudes in the labor market, such as gender stereotypes and gender identity. This paper examines gender stereotypes and self-stereotyping in a large cross section of (about 2,970) managers at different job levels in (1,875) Danish private-sector firms. The survey data used contain detailed information about the managers as well as their employers. We find significant gender differences between managers with regard to gender stereotyping attitudes. Male managers on average tend to have stronger gender stereotype views with respect to the role as a successful manager than their female peers. However, female CEOs' gender stereotypes do not differ from their male peers' and have significantly more pronounced masculine stereotypes than female managers at lower levels. Female managers have stronger beliefs in their own managerial abilities regarding feminine skills and weaker beliefs in their masculine skills, whereas the opposite is observed for male managers. Gender stereotypes and self-stereotypes vary across types of managerial employees and firms. Beliefs in own ability could explain at most ten percent of the observed gender differential in C-level executive positions.
    Keywords: glass ceiling effects, gender, self-stereotypes, stereotypes, managerial labor markets
    JEL: J16 D83 D84 M51
    Date: 2017–08
  8. By: Nie, Peng (University of Hohenheim); Sousa-Poza, Alfonso (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: This study uses data from the 2012 China Labor Force Dynamics Survey and 2010–2012 China Family Panel Studies to investigate job satisfaction and job expectations, as well as the association between job satisfaction and job turnover by gender among employees aged 16–65. We find not only that job satisfaction levels are relatively low, with only 46% of workers explicitly satisfied, but also that worker expectations differ significantly from what their jobs actually provide. In particular, many jobs are less interesting than expected, which prevents workers from realizing their perceived potential. This expectation gap is thus a strong determinant of job satisfaction. Men and women have similar levels of job satisfaction, yet based on observables, one would expect women's job satisfaction to be lower than it actually is, thereby lending support to the gender-job-satisfaction paradox encountered in Western studies. In contrast to Western research, we find no link between job satisfaction and job change, an observation we attribute to China's unique Confucian-based work ethic.
    Keywords: ob satisfaction, gender, labor turnover, China
    JEL: J16 J17 J28
    Date: 2017–08
  9. By: Dunsch, Felipe A. (World Bank); Evans, David K. (World Bank); Eze-Ajoku, Ezinne (Johns Hopkins University); Macis, Mario (Johns Hopkins University)
    Abstract: If health service delivery is poorly managed, then increases in inputs or ability may not translate into gains in quality. However, little is known about how to increase managerial capital to generate persistent improvements in quality. We present results from a randomized field experiment in 80 primary health care centers (PHCs) in Nigeria to evaluate the effects of a health care management consulting intervention. One set of PHCs received a detailed improvement plan and nine months of implementation support (full intervention), another set received only a general training session, an overall assessment and a report with improvement advice (light intervention), and a third set of facilities served as a control group. In the short term, the full intervention had large and significant effects on the adoption of several practices under the direct control of the PHC staff, as well as some intermediate outcomes. Virtually no effects remained one year after the intervention concluded. The light intervention showed no consistent effects at either point. We conclude that sustained supervision is crucial for achieving persistent improvements in contexts where the lack of external competition fails to create incentives for the adoption of effective managerial practices.
    Keywords: management, health care, supervision, economic development
    JEL: I15 M10 O15
    Date: 2017–08
  10. By: Marit Rebane; Heili Hein; Aaro Hazak
    Abstract: Striving for happiness is a universal human goal, and increased happiness is regarded as a key objective in modern scientific literature on socio-economic development. Yet, the connection between happiness and the organisation of work has not received much scrutiny. In our study on Estonian creative R&D employees, we explore the effects of flexible work schedules, the option of teleworking, and other aspects of work arrangements on employee happiness. We uncover that the option to work out of the office substantially increases happiness, and this effect is further augmented by flexible working time arrangements. We also consider the inner circadian cycles of employees and find that evening type individuals (“owls”) feel significantly less joy from their daily lives than their morning type colleagues (“larks”). This is potentially due to genetic factors, but could also be partially caused by a mismatch between the innate time preferences among owls and social as well as employer expectations. Overall, the results of our study suggest that flexible working arrangements could significantly increase the happiness and well-being of creative R&D employees.
    Date: 2017–08–31
  11. By: Böckerman, Petri (Labour Institute for Economic Research); Ilmakunnas, Pekka (Aalto University)
    Abstract: We analyze the potential role of adverse working conditions and management practices in the determination of employees' retirement behavior. Our data contain both comprehensive information regarding perceived job disamenities, job satisfaction, and intentions to retire from nationally representative cross-sectional surveys and information on employees' actual retirement decisions from longitudinal register data that can be linked to the surveys. Using a trivariate ordered probit model, we observe that job dissatisfaction arising from adverse working conditions is significantly related to intentions to retire, and this in turn is related to actual retirement during the follow-up period.
    Keywords: working conditions, job satisfaction, retirement, new management practices
    JEL: J26 J28 J53
    Date: 2017–08
  12. By: Burchardi, Konrad B.; Gulesci, Selim; Lerva, Benedetta; Sulaiman, Munshi
    Abstract: We report results from a field experiment designed to estimate the effects of tenancy contracts on agricultural input choices, risk-taking, and output. The experiment induced variation in the terms of sharecropping contracts: some tenants paid 50% of output in compensation for land usage; others paid 25%; again others paid 50% of output and received cash, either fixed or stochastic. We find that tenants with higher output share utilized more inputs, cultivated riskier crops, and generated 60% more output relative to control. Cash transfers did not effect farm output. We interpret the increase in output as the incentive effect of sharecropping.
    Keywords: Agricultural Productivity; Contracts; Incentive Effects; Sharecropping
    JEL: C93 D22 O13
    Date: 2017–08
  13. By: Martin Abel (Harvard University); Rulof Burger (Stellenbosch University); Patrizio Piraino (SALDRU, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: We show that reference letters from former employers alleviate information asymmetries about workers' skills and improve both match quality and equity in the labor market. A resume audit study finds that using a reference letter in the application increases callbacks by 61%. Women disproportionately benefit. Letters are effective because they provide valuable information about workers' skills that employers use to select applicants of higher ability. A second experiment, which encourages job seekers to obtain and use a reference letter, finds consistent results. In particular, employment rates for women who obtain letters double, fully closing the gender gap in our sample.
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Redmond, Paul (ESRI, Dublin); McGuinness, Seamus (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)
    Abstract: The gender wage gap has declined in magnitude over time; however, the gap that remains is largely unexplained due to gender convergence in key wage determining characteristics. In this paper we show that the degree of gender convergence differs across countries in Europe. Most, if not all, of the wage gap is unexplained in some countries, predominantly in Eastern Europe, while in some central and peripheral countries, differences between the characteristics of males and females can still explain a relatively large proportion of the wage gap. We investigate whether gender differences relating to job preferences play a role in explaining the gender wage gap. We find that females are more motivated than males to find a job that is closer to home and offers job security, whereas males are motivated by financial gain. The average gender wage differential in Europe is 12.2 percent and gender differences in job preferences are associated with a 1.3 percentage point increase in the wage gap. We find that preferences explain more of the gender wage gap than the individual components relating to age, tenure and previous employment status. A quantile decomposition reveals that job preferences play a greater role in explaining the wage gap at the top of the wage distribution.
    Keywords: gender wage gap, job motives, Oaxaca, quantile decomposition
    JEL: J16 J24 J31 J71
    Date: 2017–08

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