nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2017‒12‒18
eight papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Commuting and Sickness Absence By Laszlo Goerke; Olga Lorenz
  2. How self-sorting affects migrants’ labour market outcomes By Jon Kristian Pareliussen
  3. Credit Default Swaps, Agency Problems, and Management Incentives By Jongsub Lee; Junho Oh; David Yermack
  4. It's not all fun and games: Feedback, task motivation, and effort By Sheheryar Banuri; Katarina Dankova; Philip Keefer
  5. Formal search and referrals from a firm's perspective By Rebien, Martina; Stops, Michael; Zaharieva, Anna
  6. How Stress Affects Performance and Competitiveness across Gender By Jana Cahlikova; Lubomir Cingl; Ian Levely
  7. Love the job... or the patient? Task vs. mission-based motiviations in healthcare By Sheheryar Banuri; Philip Keefer; Damien de Walque
  8. Prize allocation and incentives in team contests By Crutzen, Benoît SY; Flamand, Sabine; Sahuguet, Nicolas

  1. By: Laszlo Goerke (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union IAAEU), Trier University); Olga Lorenz (Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union IAAEU), Trier University)
    Abstract: We investigate the causal effect of commuting on sickness absence from work using German panel data. To address reverse causation, we use changes in commuting distance for employees who stay with the same employer and who have the same residence during the period of observation. In contrast to previous papers, we do not observe that commuting distances are associated with higher sickness absence, in general. Only employees who commute long distances are absent about 20% more than employees with no commutes. We explore various explanations for the effect of long distance commutes to work and can find no evidence that it is due to working hours mismatch, lower work effort, reduced leisure time or differences in health status.
    Keywords: sickness absence, absenteeism, commuting, health, labour supply
    JEL: I10 J22 R2 R40
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Jon Kristian Pareliussen
    Abstract: Assuming that immigrants select destinations according to absolute returns to their observable and unobservable human capital, I present a human capital model of migration accounting for taxes, transfers and limited portability of skills. The model predicts both segmented sorting of migrants to countries with a compressed income distribution, with negative sorting increasing with lower portability and positive sorting increasing with portability. Sorting to countries with greater income dispersion increases unambiguously with host-country relevant skills. Migrants to countries with compressed incomes will hence be more likely to be either out of work or overqualified and low-paid compared to natives with similar observable skills, and compared to migrants to countries with greater income dispersion. Regressions results on data for 16 OECD countries from the OECD Survey of Adult Skills are in line with the model. Controlling for observable skills and characteristics, including a literacy test score, immigrants from countries that are less wealthy or further away in geographical and cultural distance are significantly more likely to be either out of work or overqualified and low-paid in high-benefit countries. Wage compression, generous transfers and high taxes, typical traits of the so-called “Nordic” or “Flexicurity” model, may therefore contribute to making immigrant integration more challenging.
    JEL: J15 J18 J24 J61
    Date: 2017–11–22
  3. By: Jongsub Lee; Junho Oh; David Yermack
    Abstract: We show in a theoretical model that credit default swaps induce managerial agency problems through two channels: reducing the opportunity for managers to transfer value to equityholders from creditors via strategic default, and reducing the intensity of monitoring by creditors, which leads to greater CEO diversion of assets as perquisites. We further show that boards can use compensation awards that increase managerial performance incentives (delta) and risk-taking incentives (vega) in order to mitigate these two agency problems, with increases in managerial vega being particularly useful to alleviate the strategic default-related agency problem. We study equity compensation awards to CEOs of S&P 1500 companies during 2001–2015 and find that they occur in patterns consistent with these predictions.
    JEL: G30 G33 G34 J33 M52
    Date: 2017–11
  4. By: Sheheryar Banuri (University of East Anglia); Katarina Dankova (University of East Anglia); Philip Keefer (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: Performance feedback is a pervasive element of education, management, marketing, and the entire gaming industry. Prior research on feedback focuses on what information individuals receive, and how frequently. The gaming industry, though, is built upon the premise that how feedback is delivered matters and, in particular, that "context" – narrative and story – are key. However, even as organizations increasingly adopt gaming elements into their feedback systems, prior research offers little guidance about whether standard performance feedback, combined with gaming elements, yields greater effort. We report the results of experiments that identify the impact of feedback through gamification, through a novel experimental design that introduces narratives into the task. Compared to standard performance feedback, gamification significantly increases effort in a "real effort" task. However, consistent with past research showing that intrinsic and extrinsic incentives interact, gamification has a positive impact on effort when extrinsic incentives are low, but no impact when they are high. The introduction of narrative – storyline development – induces the greatest effort, even compared to Leaderboards, a gaming element that often features in performance feedback systems.
    Keywords: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, performance, feedback, gamification, effort
    JEL: J24 M12 C91
    Date: 2017–11
  5. By: Rebien, Martina (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Stops, Michael (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Zaharieva, Anna
    Abstract: "This study explores the relationship between firms' characteristics and their recruitment strategies. We propose a model based on a search and matching framework with two search channels: a formal channel which is costly for firms and a costless informal channel, i.e. referrals. There is a continuum of heterogeneous vacancies in our model where every firm with an open vacancy chooses an optimal search effort in order to attract job candidates. This search effort depends on the productivity of the firm and, contrary to the previous literature, workers send simultaneous applications to open vacancies. We assess the model predictions by using the IAB Job Vacancy Survey, a representative survey among human resource managers in Germany reporting information about their most recent recruitment case. Based on the finding that firm size and productivity are positively correlated we show that: (1) Larger firms invest more effort into formal search activities; (2) Firms invest more formal search effort in labour markets for more educated workers; (3) The positive relationship between firm's size and formal search intensity can also be observed for firms that don't use referrals; (4) Firms that use referrals as a search channel invest less effort into formal search compared to firms that don't use referrals; (5) Larger firms are less likely to hire an applicant by referral than smaller firms, and (6) More intensive search effort leads to a larger number of applications." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Keywords: Personalbeschaffung, Personalauswahl, offene Stellen, Stellenbesetzung, Mitarbeiter, informelle Kommunikation, Unternehmensgröße, Suchverfahren, Qualifikationsanforderungen, qualifikationsspezifische Faktoren, IAB-Stellenerhebung
    JEL: J21 J23 J63 J64
    Date: 2017–11–30
  6. By: Jana Cahlikova; Lubomir Cingl; Ian Levely
    Abstract: Since many key career events, such as exams and interviews, involve competition and stress, gender differences in response to these factors could help to explain the labor-market gender gaps. In a laboratory experiment, we manipulate psychosocial stress using the Trier Social Stress Test, and conï¬ rm that this is effective by measuring salivary cortisol. Subjects perform a realeffort task under both tournament and piece-rate incentives and we elicit willingness to compete. We ï¬ nd that women under heightened stress do worse than women in the control group when compensated with tournament incentives, while there is no treatment difference for performance under piece-rate incentives. For males, stress does not affect output under competition. We also ï¬ nd that stress decreases willingness to compete overall, and for women, this is related to performance. These results help to explain previous ï¬ ndings on gender differences in performance under competition both in and out of the lab.
    Keywords: competitiveness, performance in tournaments, psychosocial stress, gender gap
    JEL: C91 D03 J16 J33
    Date: 2017–03
  7. By: Sheheryar Banuri (University of East Anglia); Philip Keefer (Inter-American Development Bank); Damien de Walque (The World Bank)
    Abstract: A booming literature has argued that mission-based motives are a central feature of mission-oriented labor markets. We shift the focus to task-based motivation and find that it yields significantly more effort than mission-based. Moreover, in the presence of significant task motivation, mission motivation has no additional effect on effort. The evidence emerges from experiments with nearly 250 medical and nursing students in Burkina Faso. The students exert effort in three tasks, from boring to interesting. In addition, for half of the students, mission motivation is present: their effort on the task generates benefits for a charity. Two strong results emerge. First, task motivation has an economically important effect on effort, more than doubling effort. Second, mission motivation increases effort, but only for mundane tasks and not when the task is interesting. Even for mundane tasks, moreover, the effects of mission motivation appear to be less than those of task motivation.
    Keywords: public sector reform, civil service, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, performance
    JEL: C91 H83 J45
    Date: 2017–11
  8. By: Crutzen, Benoît SY; Flamand, Sabine; Sahuguet, Nicolas
    Abstract: We study a contest between teams that compete for multiple indivisible prizes. Team output is a CES function of all the team members' efforts. We use a generalized Tullock contest success function to allocate prizes between teams. We study how different intra-team prize allocation rules impact team output. We consider an egalitarian rule that gives all members the same chance of receiving a prize, and a list rule that sets ex-ante the order in which members receive a prize. The convexity of the cost of effort function and the complementarity of individual efforts determine which rule maximizes team output and success. Our results speak to many real world situations, such as elections, contests for the allocation of local public goods and the internal organization of firms.
    Date: 2017–12

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