nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2018‒10‒08
seven papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Achievement rank affects performance and major choices in college By Benjamin Elsner; Ingo E. Isphording; Ulf Zölitz
  2. Can Online Surveys Represent the Entire Population? By Elisabeth Grewenig; Philipp Lergetporer; Lisa Simon; Katharina Werner; Ludger Wößmann
  3. Employment adjustments following rises and reductions in minimum wages: New insights from a survey experiment By Bossler, Mario; Oberfichtner, Michael; Schnabel, Claus
  4. Fighting alone or fighting for a team: Evidence from experimental pairwise contests By Lingbo Huang; Zarah Murad
  5. Normatively Framed Relative Performance Feedback – Field Experiment and Replication By Brade, Raphael; Himmler, Oliver; Jäckle, Robert
  6. Incentives and Gender in a Multitask Setting: an Experimental Study with Real-Effort Tasks By Zarah Murad; Charitini Stavropoulou; Graham Cookson
  7. How Common Are Bad Bosses? By Artz, Benjamin; Goodall, Amanda H.; Oswald, Andrew J.

  1. By: Benjamin Elsner; Ingo E. Isphording; Ulf Zölitz
    Abstract: This paper studies how a student's ordinal achievement rank affects performance and specialization choices in university. We exploit data from a setting where students are randomly assigned to teaching sections and find that students with a higher rank in their section achieve higher grades, become more likely to graduate, and are more likely to choose related follow-up courses and majors. These effects are stronger for men who, in contrast to women, respond to a higher rank with an increase in their study effort. Our results highlight that social comparisons with peers can have lasting effects on students' careers.
    Keywords: Rank, social comparisons, higher education, peer effects
    JEL: I21 J16 J31
    Date: 2018–09
  2. By: Elisabeth Grewenig; Philipp Lergetporer; Lisa Simon; Katharina Werner; Ludger Wößmann
    Abstract: A general concern with the representativeness of online surveys is that they exclude the “offline” population that does not use the internet. We run a large-scale opinion survey with (1) onliners in web mode, (2) offliners in face-to-face mode, and (3) onliners in face-to-face mode. We find marked response differences between onliners and offliners in the mixed-mode setting (1 vs. 2). Response differences between onliners and offliners in the same face-to-face mode (2 vs. 3) disappear when controlling for background characteristics, indicating mode effects rather than unobserved population differences. Differences in background characteristics of onliners in the two modes (1 vs. 3) indicate that mode effects partly reflect sampling differences. In our setting, re-weighting online-survey observations appears a pragmatic solution when aiming at representativeness for the entire population.
    Keywords: online survey, representativeness, mode effects, offliner, public opinion
    JEL: C83 D91 I20
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Bossler, Mario; Oberfichtner, Michael; Schnabel, Claus
    Abstract: The effects of large minimum wage increases, like those planned in the UK and in some US states, are still unknown. We conduct a survey experiment that randomly assigns increases or decreases in minimum wages to about 6,000 plants in Germany and asks the personnel managers about their expectations concerning employment adjustments. We find that employment reacts asymmetrically to positive and negative changes in minimum wages. The larger the increase in the minimum wage is, the larger the expected reduction in employment. Employment adjustments are more pronounced in those industries and plants which are more strongly affected by the current minimum wage and in those plants that have neither collective agreements nor a works council. In contrast, employment is not found to increase if the minimum wage is reduced by about 10 percent. This mainly reflects that plants with works councils and collective agreements would not cut wages.
    Keywords: minimum wage,wage cuts,establishment survey,Germany
    JEL: J31 J23 D22
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Lingbo Huang (Monash University); Zarah Murad (University of Portsmouth)
    Abstract: People who compete alone may entertain different psychological motivations from those who compete for a team. Using a real-effort experiment, we examine the behavioural consequences of these psychological motivations, absent strategic interdependence and uncertainty among team members. We exploit a dynamic pairwise team contest in which strategic uncertainties among team members play a minimised role in individual rational behaviour; and we create strategically-equivalent individual contests to isolate the pure psychological effects of team situation on individual competitive behaviour. We find that behaviour in individual contests and in sterile team contests follows a psychological momentum effect in which leaders work harder than trailers. In contrast, in team contests enriched with intra-team communication, behaviour follows a neutral effect. We discuss the implications of our results for theoretical modelling of contests and practical implications for the optimal design of team incentive schemes and personnel management.
    Keywords: individual versus team behaviour, real-effort experiment, pairwise team contest, best-of-three team contest, communication, psychological momentum effect
    JEL: C33 C72 D79 C91 C92
    Date: 2018–09–19
  5. By: Brade, Raphael; Himmler, Oliver; Jäckle, Robert
    Abstract: Feedback can help individuals put their performance into perspective, especially when transitioning into a new environment such as university or a different job. In a randomized field experiment we give first-year university students normatively framed relative performance feedback about their accumulated course credits. We find an increase in subsequent performance, but only when the feedback is positive. Using a regression discontinuity design, we show that the improved performance is not driven by unobserved characteristics of those receiving positive feedback, but that it is indeed due to the positive rather than negative nature of the feedback. We administer a replication experiment with the next wave of first-year students one year later and reproduce the results. Survey data provides suggestive evidence that positive feedback has an effect on behavior when students underestimate their relative performance, and that consistent with a mechanism of selective information processing, individuals focus on positive feedback to adjust their beliefs.
    Keywords: Relative Performance Feedback; Higher Education; Randomized Field Experiment; Replication; Selective Information Processing
    JEL: C93 I23
    Date: 2018–09–05
  6. By: Zarah Murad (University of Portsmouth); Charitini Stavropoulou (City University of London); Graham Cookson (Surrey Business School)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the behavioural effects of competitive, social and image incentives on men’s and women’s allocation of effort in a multitask environment. Specifically, using two real-effort laboratory tasks, we investigate how competitive prizes, social value generation and public awards affect effort allocation decisions between the tasks. We find that all three types of incentives significantly focus effort allocation towards the task they are applied in, but the effect varies significantly between men and women. The highest effort distortion lies with competitive incentives, which is due to the effort allocation decision of men. Women exert similar amount of effort across the three incentive conditions, with slightly lower effort levels in the social-image incentivized tasks. Our results inform how and why genders differences may persist in competitive workplaces.
    Keywords: Incentives, Gender Differences, Multitasking, Experiments
    JEL: C91 C92
    Date: 2018–09–19
  7. By: Artz, Benjamin (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh); Goodall, Amanda H. (Cass Business School); Oswald, Andrew J. (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Bosses play an important role in workplaces. Yet little is currently known about a foundational question. Are the right people promoted to be managers, team leaders, and supervisors? Gallup data and the famous Peter Principle both suggest that incompetent bosses are likely to be all around us. This paper's results uncover a different, and more nuanced, conclusion. By taking data on 35 nations, the paper provides the first statistically representative international estimates of the extent to which employees have 'bad bosses'. Using a simple, and arguably natural, measure, the paper calculates that approximately 13% of Europe's workers have a bad boss. These bosses are most common in the Transport sector and large organizations. The paper discusses its methodology, performs validation checks, and reviews other data and implications.
    Keywords: job satisfaction, leadership, bosses, well-being
    JEL: J28 I31 M54
    Date: 2018–09

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