nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2018‒01‒01
eight papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Human Capital, Firm Capabilities, and Innovation By Ajay Bhaskarbhatla; Deepak Hegde; Thomas (T.L.P.R.) Peeters
  2. Using Behavioral Economics to Curb Workplace Misbehaviors: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment By Jeffrey Flory; Andreas Leibbrandt; John List
  3. Investing in Human Capital to Boost Growth! By Caroleo, Floro Ernesto; Pastore, Francesco
  4. Motivating Whistleblowers By Jeffrey V. Butler; Danila Serra; Giancarlo Spagnolo
  5. Between spilling over and boiling down: network-mediated spillovers, absorptive capacity and productivity in European regions By Nicola Cortinovis; Frank van Oort
  6. The inefficient advantage of experience in the market for football managers By Thomas (T.L.P.R.) Peeters; Stefan Szymanski; Marko Terviö
  7. Information Transmission Through Infl uence Activities By Chongwoo Choe; In-Uck Park
  8. Nudging the electorate: what works and why? By Felix Koelle; Tom Lane; Daniele Nosenzo; Chris Starmer

  1. By: Ajay Bhaskarbhatla (Erasmus School of Economics, ERIM); Deepak Hegde (New York University); Thomas (T.L.P.R.) Peeters (Erasmus School of Economics, ERIM; Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands)
    Abstract: Are differences in inventor productivity due to differences in inventors’ skills or differences in the capabilities of the firms they work for? We analyze a 37-year panel that tracks the patenting of U.S. inventors and find strong evidence for serial correlation in inventors’ productivity. We apply an econometric technique developed by Abowd, Kramarz, and Margolis (1999) to decompose the contributions of inventors’ human capital and firm capabilities for productivity. Our estimates suggest human capital is 4-5 times more important than firm capabilities for explaining the variance in inventor productivity. High human capital inventors work for firms that have (i) other high human capital inventors, (ii) superior financial performance, and (iii) weak firm-specific invention capabilities. On the margins, managers should emphasize selecting talent rather than training workers to enhance innovation performance.
    Keywords: Human Capital; Capabilities; Innovation; Matching; Competitive Advantage
    JEL: O30 O31 O32 J24
    Date: 2017–12–08
  2. By: Jeffrey Flory; Andreas Leibbrandt; John List
    Abstract: Workplace misbehaviors are often governed by explicit monitoring and strict punishment. Such enforcement activities can serve to lessen worker productivity and harm worker morale. We take a different approach to curbing worker misbehaviour - bonuses. Examining more than 6500 donor phone calls across more than 80 workers, we use a natural field experiment to investigate how different wage contracts influence workers' propensity to break workplace rules in harmful ways. Our findings show that even though standard relative performance pay contracts, relative to a fixed wage scheme, increase productivity, they have a dark side: they cause considerable cheating and sabotage of co-workers. Yet, even in such environments, by including an unexpected bonus, the employer can substantially curb worker misbehavior. In this manner, our findings reveal how employers can effectively leverage bonuses to eliminate undesired behaviors induced by performance pay contracts.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Caroleo, Floro Ernesto (University of Naples Parthenope); Pastore, Francesco (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli)
    Abstract: The Italian economy performs well below the EU average. The reason is a dramatic and persistent low rate of investment, always invoked but never supported by national and supra-national institutions. However, investment to increase the quantity and quality of human capital is key to boost economic growth and cannot be achieved without adequate financial resources. At the same time, the educational system needs to relaunch university reforms (including the Gelmini and 3+2 reforms) which have been unsuccessful so far because they were poorly implemented. Last but not least, more and better ties between the educational system and the labor market should be developed as soon as possible.
    Keywords: public investment, aggregate human capital, economic growth, educational reforms, 3+2 University Reform
    JEL: E22 E24 H54 I25 I28 J24
    Date: 2017–11
  4. By: Jeffrey V. Butler (University of California Merced, Department of Economics); Danila Serra (Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics); Giancarlo Spagnolo (SITE-Stockholm School of Economics, EIEF, Tor Vergata & CEPR)
    Abstract: Law-breaking activities within an organization bene?ting the ?rm at the expense of the general public are widespread but di¢ cult to uncover, making whistleblowing by employees desirable. We employ a novel laboratory experiment to investigate if and how monetary incentives and expectations of social approval or disapproval, and their interactions, a¤ect the decision to blow the whistle. Experimental results show that: i) ?nancial rewards signi?cantly increase the likelihood of whistleblowing and do not substantially crowd out non-monetary motivations activated by expectations of social judgment; and ii) the possibility of social judgment decreases (increases) whistleblowing when the public is unaware (aware) of the negative externalities generated by fraud, suggesting that whistleblowers are at least partly motivated by a desire for social approval. Our ?ndings suggest that whistleblowers on corporate fraud should be ?nancially rewarded and should be shielded from public/media scrutiny when the social cost of the illegal activity is not visible or salient to the public. We also ?nd evidence of an interesting relationship between political orientation and social judgment: while left-leaning subjects react to the possibility of receiving social approval or disapproval as expected, right-leaning people are una¤ected by it.
    Keywords: Whistleblowing,fraud,rewards,social judgment,experiment.
    JEL: K42 C92 D04
    Date: 2017–12–12
  5. By: Nicola Cortinovis (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Frank van Oort (ESE EUR, IHS EUR, Utrecht University)
    Abstract: Productivity across European regions is related to three types of networks that mediate R&D-related knowledge spillovers: trade, co-patenting and geographical proximity. Both our panel and instrumental variable estimations for European regions suggest that network relations are crucial sources of R&D spillovers, but with potentially different features. While co-patenting relations appear to affect local productivity directly, regions that link up to innovative leader regions via imports gain in productivity only when they have relatively high levels of human capital and absorptive capacity. From a policy perspective, this may frustrate recent European policy initiatives, such as Smart Specialization, that are designed to benefit all regions in Europe.
    Keywords: productivity; economic networks; regions; Europe; trade; knowledge
    JEL: R11 R12 O33 O47
    Date: 2017–12–15
  6. By: Thomas (T.L.P.R.) Peeters (Erasmus School of Economics, ERIM; Tinbergen Institute, The Netherlands); Stefan Szymanski (University of Michigan); Marko Terviö (Aalto University)
    Abstract: We study hiring in a labor market where worker ability can only be observed on-the-job, but quickly becomes public information after labor market entry. We show that firms in these markets have a socially inefficient incentive to hire low talented, experienced workers instead of more promising labor market entrants, either when an extremely poor hire may bankrupt the firm, or when workers cannot commit to long-term contracts. In a dataset covering 38 years of hiring in the English labor market for football managers, we find that in around one quarter of all cases, where a firm hires an experienced worker, this experienced worker has an estimated ability below the average ability of recent labor market entrants. We argue this hiring behavior is inefficient, because it has persistently depressed the average ability of the active manager labor force over our sample period.
    Keywords: hiring; labor market entrants; worker ability; European football
    JEL: M51 J63 J24
    Date: 2017–12–08
  7. By: Chongwoo Choe; In-Uck Park
    Abstract: We study information transmission aspect of influence activities in an organization where privately informed division managers manipulate information about their divisional ‘state’ in order to sway the headquarters’ decision in their favor. We formalize a notion of informativeness of influence activities, which we show is equivalent to sharpening the headquarters inference on the underlying state in the sense of second-order stochastic dominance, thus enhancing its surplus. We then provide sufficient conditions for the influence activities to be necessarily informative (detrimental, resp.) in equilibrium; and conditions on what kind of changes may induce more informative influence activities. Applying these results to various cases in which managers are motivated differently, we find that more conducive to informative influence activities are organizations that are less averse to risk taking, that rely more on higher-powered incentives such as bonus, and promote suitably-designed competition such as internal promotion.
    Keywords: infl uence activities, information transmission.
    JEL: C72 D23 D82 L22
    Date: 2017–12–19
  8. By: Felix Koelle (Department of Economics, University of Cologne); Tom Lane (Department of Economics, University of Nottingham); Daniele Nosenzo (School of Economics, University of Nottingham); Chris Starmer (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We report two studies investigating whether, and if so how, different interventions affect voter registration rates. In a natural field experiment conducted before the 2015 UK General Election, we varied messages on a postcard sent by Oxford City Council to unregistered student voters encouraging them to register to vote. Relative to a baseline, emphasising negative monetary incentives (the possibility of being fined) significantly increased registration rates, while positive monetary incentives (chances of winning a lottery) had no significant effects. In the second study, we show that the success of the negative monetary incentive intervention and failure of the positive monetary incentive intervention can be partly explained by social norms.
    Keywords: Voter Registration; Voting; Field Experiment; Nudging; Social Norms; Fines; Rewards
    Date: 2017

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