nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2018‒02‒26
eleven papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Team Incentives, Task Assignment, and Performance: A Field Experiment By Delfgaauw, Josse; Dur, Robert; Souverijn, Michiel
  2. "The good news about bad news": Feedback about past organisational failure and its impact on worker productivity By Jeworrek, Sabrina; Mertins, Vanessa; Vlassopoulos, Michael
  3. Prosociality Spillovers of Working with Others By Michalis Drouvelis; Benjamin Marx
  4. Common Ownership, Competition, and Top Management Incentives By Antón, Miguel; Ederer, Florian; Gine, Mireia; Schmalz, Martin
  5. Changes across Cohorts in Wage Returns to Schooling and Early Work Experiences By Ashworth, Jared; Hotz, V. Joseph; Maurel, Arnaud; Ransom, Tyler
  6. The Motivation of Temporary Agency Workers: An Empirical Analysis By Grund, Christian; Minten, Axel; Toporova, Nevena
  7. Do Preferences and Biases predict Life Outcomes? Evidence from Education and Labor Market Entry Decisions By Backes-Gellner, Uschi; Herz, Holger; Kosfeld, Michael; Oswald, Yvonne
  8. Skills, Signals, and Employability: An Experimental Investigation By Piopiunik, Marc; Schwerdt, Guido; Simon, Lisa; Woessmann, Ludger
  9. Supervising Relational Contracts By Troya Martinez, Marta; Wren-Lewis, Liam
  10. People versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs By Lordan, Grace; Neumark, David
  11. Empowering Women under Social Constraints: Evidence from a Field Intervention in Rural Egypt By Elsayed, Ahmed; Roushdy, Rania

  1. By: Delfgaauw, Josse (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Dur, Robert (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Souverijn, Michiel (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: The performance of a work team commonly depends on the effort exerted by the team members as well as on the division of tasks among them. However, when leaders assign tasks to team members, performance is usually not the only consideration. Favouritism, employees' seniority, employees' preferences over tasks, and fairness considerations often play a role as well. Team incentives have the potential to curtail the role of these factors in favor of performance – in particular when the incentive plan includes both the leader and the team members. This paper presents the results of a field experiment designed to study the effects of such team incentives on task assignment and performance. We introduce team incentives in a random subsets of 108 stores of a Dutch retail chain. We find no effect of the incentive, neither on task assignment nor on performance.
    Keywords: team incentives, task assignment, field experiment
    JEL: C93 M12 M52
    Date: 2017–12
  2. By: Jeworrek, Sabrina; Mertins, Vanessa; Vlassopoulos, Michael
    Abstract: Failure in organisations is a very common phenomenon. Little is known about whether past failure affects workers' subsequent performance. We conduct a field experiment in which we follow up a failed mail campaign to attract new volunteers with a phone campaign pursuing the same goal. We recruit temporary workers to carry out the phone campaign and randomly assign them to either receive or not receive information about the previous failure and measure their performance. We find that informed workers perform better - in terms of both numbers dialed (about 14% improvement) and completed interviews (about 20% improvement) - regardless of whether they had previously worked on the failed mail campaign. Evidence from a second experiment with student volunteers asked to support a campaign to reduce food waste suggests that the mechanism behind our finding relates to contextual inference: Informing workers/volunteers that they are pursuing a goal that is hard to attain seems to add meaning to the work involved, leading them to exert more effort.
    Keywords: contextual inference,feedback,failure,field experiment,meaning of work
    JEL: C93 J22 M50
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Michalis Drouvelis; Benjamin Marx
    Abstract: Group compensation and public announcement of performance are two common aspects of working with other people. We randomly assign these aspects to real-effort tasks. Following task completion and payment, subjects are given an unexpected opportunity to donate to a local charity. Group compensation and public announcement of performance have little effect on work performance but striking spillover effects on subsequent donations. Public announcement of performance doubles the amount donated to charity, and group compensation significantly increases the share donating. The results suggest that interpersonal interactions in the workplace environment may have important spillover effects on prosocial behavior outside of work.
    Keywords: prosocial, spillover, charitable, group, experiment
    JEL: D01 D64 A13
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Antón, Miguel; Ederer, Florian; Gine, Mireia; Schmalz, Martin
    Abstract: We show theoretically and empirically that managers have steeper financial incentives to exert effort and reduce costs when an industry's firms are controlled by shareholders with concentrated stakes in the firm, and relatively few holdings in competitors. A side effect of steeper incentives is more aggressive competition. These findings inform a debate about the objective function of the firm.
    Keywords: CEO pay; Common ownership; Competition; corporate governance; management incentives
    JEL: D21 G30 G32 J31 J41
    Date: 2018–02
  5. By: Ashworth, Jared (Pepperdine University); Hotz, V. Joseph (Duke University); Maurel, Arnaud (Duke University); Ransom, Tyler (University of Oklahoma)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the wage returns to schooling and actual early work experiences, and how these returns have changed over the past twenty years. Using the NLSY surveys, we develop and estimate a dynamic model of the joint schooling and work decisions that young men make in early adulthood, and quantify how they affect wages using a generalized Mincerian specification. Our results highlight the need to account for dynamic selection and changes in composition when analyzing changes in wage returns. In particular, we find that ignoring the selectivity of accumulated work experiences results in overstatement of the returns to education.
    Keywords: schooling, human capital, wage returns, selection
    JEL: C33 J22 J24 I21
    Date: 2017–12
  6. By: Grund, Christian (RWTH Aachen University); Minten, Axel (RWTH Aachen University); Toporova, Nevena (Technische Universität München)
    Abstract: We are investigating the relationship between individual and job-related characteristics and the motivation of temporary agency workers. To do so, we are using a unique dataset from one of Germany's largest temporary work agencies. For 3,000 temporary agency workers, a subjective motivation appraisal is provided by the respective direct manager within the hiring company. It is possible to observe a positive relationship between the decision on transition to regular employment and the motivation of temporary agency workers. Women in temporary agency work demonstrate a higher degree of motivation than men. However, in the case of men a clearer correlation can be observed between project duration and motivation. A change of hiring company with follow-up projects has a negative effect on the temporary agency worker's motivation.
    Keywords: temporary agency work, atypical employment relation, empirical study, motivation, work morale
    JEL: J5 J81 M5
    Date: 2017–12
  7. By: Backes-Gellner, Uschi; Herz, Holger; Kosfeld, Michael; Oswald, Yvonne
    Abstract: Evidence suggests that acquiring human capital is related to better life outcomes, yet young peoples' decisions to invest in or stop acquiring human capital are still poorly understood. We investigate the role of time and reference-dependent preferences in such decisions. Using a data set that is unique in its combination of real-world observations on student outcomes and experimental data on economic preferences, we find that a low degree of long-run patience is a key determinant of dropping out of upper-secondary education. Further, for students who finish education we show that one month before termination of their program, present-biased students are less likely to have concrete continuation plans while loss averse students are more likely to have a definite job offer already. Our findings provide fresh evidence on students' decision-making about human capital acquisition and labor market transition with important implications for education and labor market policy.
    Keywords: dropout; economic preferences; education; Human Capital; job search
    JEL: D01 D03 D91 I21 J64
    Date: 2018–01
  8. By: Piopiunik, Marc (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Schwerdt, Guido (University of Konstanz); Simon, Lisa (CESifo); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: As skills of labor-market entrants are usually not directly observed by employers, individuals acquire skill signals. To study which signals are valued by employers, we simultaneously and independently randomize a broad range of skill signals on pairs of resumes of fictitious applicants among which we ask a large representative sample of German human-resource managers to choose. We find that signals in all three studied domains – cognitive skills, social skills, and maturity – have a significant effect on being invited for a job interview. Consistent with the relevance, expectedness, and credibility of different signals, the specific signal that is effective in each domain differs between apprenticeship applicants and college graduates. While GPAs and social skills are significant for both genders, males are particularly rewarded for maturity and females for IT and language skills. Older HR managers value school grades less and other signals more, whereas HR managers in larger firms value college grades more.
    Keywords: signals, cognitive skills, social skills, resume, hiring, labor market
    JEL: J24 J21
    Date: 2018–01
  9. By: Troya Martinez, Marta; Wren-Lewis, Liam
    Abstract: Relational contracts are often studied as being between a principal and agent, such as an employer and an employee. But what happens when the relationship is managed by a supervisor, such as a manager? We develop a theory of supervised relational contracts and show that relational side payments between the supervisor and agent change the equilibrium contract in important ways. First, side payments facilitate the supervisor's commitment, potentially enabling levels of effort the principal could not achieve directly. Second, more valuable relationships may sustain more collusion, and hence produce less effort. We also analyze how the principal should bound the supervisor's discretion, and show that the principal benefits from entrusting a relationship to a supervisor when relational contracts are difficult.
    Keywords: Corruption; delegation; Relational Contracts
    JEL: D73 D86 L14
    Date: 2018–01
  10. By: Lordan, Grace (London School of Economics); Neumark, David (University of California, Irvine)
    Abstract: We study the effect of minimum wage increases on employment in automatable jobs – jobs in which employers may find it easier to substitute machines for people – focusing on low-skilled workers for whom such substitution may be spurred by minimum wage increases. Based on CPS data from 1980–2015, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become nonemployed or employed in worse jobs. The average effects mask significant heterogeneity by industry and demographic group, including substantive adverse effects for older, low-skilled workers in manufacturing. We also find some evidence that the same changes improve job opportunities for higher-skilled workers. The findings imply that groups often ignored in the minimum wage literature are in fact quite vulnerable to employment changes and job loss because of automation following a minimum wage increase.
    Keywords: minimum wage, employment, automation
    JEL: J23 J38
    Date: 2018–01
  11. By: Elsayed, Ahmed (IZA); Roushdy, Rania (American University of Cairo)
    Abstract: Women in the MENA region are economically and socially disempowered. High youth unemployment rates together with discriminatory social norms drive them to limit their investment in human capital. We evaluate a large-scale intervention attempting to relax human capital constraints for women by offering vocational, business and life skills training in 30 villages in rural Egypt. Relative to women in the control villages, the intervention increased the likelihood of treated women engaging in income-generating activities, driven by an increase in self-employment. Treated women also became more likely to have future business aspirations. However, their intra-household decision-making and gender equality attitudes were not affected by the intervention. We show that these results mask heterogeneous effects in terms of background characteristics and initial levels of social empowerment. We find no evidence of positive spillover effects for the program within treated villages and, more importantly, no evidence of different pre-trends in employment between the treated and control groups prior to the intervention.
    Keywords: empowerment of women, field intervention, Egypt
    JEL: I25 J24 O12
    Date: 2017–12

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