nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2018‒12‒24
ten papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. HPWS in the Public Sector: Are There Mutual Gains? By White, Michael; Bryson, Alex
  2. How Do Nascent Social Entrepreneurs Respond to Rewards? A Field Experiment on Motivations in a Grant Competition By Ganguli, Ina; Le Coq, Chloé; Huysentruyt, Marieke
  3. Effects of timing and reference frame of feedback: Evidence from a field experiment By Fischer, Mira; Wagner, Valentin
  4. Do female managers help to lower within-firm gender pay gaps? Public institutions vs. private enterprises By Iga Magda; Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska
  5. Differential Performance in High vs. Low Stakes Tests: Evidence from the GRE Test By Attali, Yigal; Neeman, Zvika; Schlosser, Analia
  6. The Heterogeneous Effect of Affirmative Action on Performance By Anat Bracha; Alma Cohen; Lynn Conell-Price
  7. Using Response Times to Measure Ability on a Cognitive Task By Aleksandr Alekseev
  8. Short-time work in the Great Recession: firm-level evidence from 20 EU countries By Lydon, Reamonn; Mathä, Thomas; Millard, Stephen
  9. Are professors worth it? The value-added and costs of tutorial instructors By Feld, Jan; Salamanca, Nicolás; Zölitz, Ulf
  10. Informing Employees in Small and Medium Sized Firms about Training: Results of a Randomized Field Experiment By van den Berg, Gerard J.; Dauth, Christine; Homrighausen, Pia; Stephan, Gesine

  1. By: White, Michael (Policy Studies Institute); Bryson, Alex (University College London)
    Abstract: Few studies investigate the links between high-performance work systems (HPWS) on public sector organizational performance and worker job attitudes. We fill this gap with analyses of these links using linked employer-employee surveys of workplaces in Britain in 2004 and 2011. We find robust evidence of positive associations between the use of HPWS and organizational performance in the public sector but no associations with worker attitudes. The implication is that, in contrast to similar work on the private sector in the United States (Appelbaum et al., 2000) HPWS is not delivering mutual gains for employers and employees in the British public sector.
    Keywords: public sector, HRM, HPWS, workplace performance, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, trust
    JEL: J28 L23 M50 M54
    Date: 2018–11
  2. By: Ganguli, Ina (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Le Coq, Chloé (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics); Huysentruyt, Marieke (HEC Paris)
    Abstract: We conducted a field experiment to identify the causal effects of extrinsic incentive cues on the sorting and performance of nascent social entrepreneurs. The experiment, carried out with one of the United Kingdom’s largest support agencies for social entrepreneurs, encouraged 431 nascent social entrepreneurs to submit a full application for a grant competition that provides cash and in-kind mentorship support through a one-time mailing sent by the agency. The applicants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one group received a standard mailing that emphasized the intrinsic incentives of the program, or the opportunity to do good (Social treatment), and the other two groups received a mailing that instead emphasized the extrinsic incentives - either the financial rewards (Cash treatment) or the in-kind rewards (Support treatment). Our results show that an emphasis on extrinsic incentives strongly affects who applies for the grant and consequently the type of submissions received. The extrinsic reward cues “crowded out” the more prosocial candidates, leading fewer candidates to apply and fewer applicants targeting disadvantaged groups. Importantly, while the full applications submitted by candidates in the extrinsic incentives groups were more successful in receiving the grant, their social enterprises were less likely to be successful at the end of the one-year grant period. Our results highlight the critical role of intrinsic motives to the selection and performance of social enterprises and suggest that using extrinsic incentives to promote the development of successful social enterprises may backfire in the longer run.
    Keywords: social entrepreneurship; field experiment; incentives; motivations; grants
    JEL: C93 J24 L31
    Date: 2018–12–01
  3. By: Fischer, Mira; Wagner, Valentin
    Abstract: Information about past performance has been found to sometimes improve and sometimes worsen subsequent performance. Two factors may help to explain this puzzle: which aspect of one's past performance the information refers to and when it is revealed. In a field experiment in secondary schools, students received information about their absolute rank in the last math exam (level feedback), their change in ranks between the second-last and the last math exam (change feedback), or no feedback. Feedback was given either 1-3 days (early) or immediately (late) before the final math exam of the semester. Both level feedback and change feedback significantly improve students' grades in the final exam when given early and tend to worsen them when given late. The largest effects are found for negative change feedback and are concentrated on male students, who adjust their ability beliefs downwards in response to feedback.
    Keywords: timing of feedback,change and level feedback,motivation,field experiment
    JEL: I21 M54 D91
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Iga Magda; Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska
    Abstract: We analyse the link between the presence of female managers and the size of the firm-level gender pay gap. We look separately at the private and public sector, basing on a large linked employer-employee dataset for Poland. Using a non-parametric and parametric decompositions, we find that higher presence of female managers is associated with more pay advantage towards women in selected types of public sector units: the ones in which remunerations of women and men are already equal, and a large share of the workforce is tertiary-educated. The effects are, however, relatively small in size. In private establishments, lower gender wage inequality is associated with higher shares of female workers, but not female managers.
    Keywords: gender wage gap, wage inequalities, public sector, female managers, Nopo decomposition, Oaxaca- Blinder decomposition
    JEL: J16 J31 J45
    Date: 2018–12
  5. By: Attali, Yigal; Neeman, Zvika; Schlosser, Analia
    Abstract: We study how different demographic groups respond to incentives by comparing their performance in "high" and "low" stakes situations. The high stakes situation is the GRE examination and the low stakes situation is a voluntary experimental section of the GRE. We find that Males exhibit a larger drop in performance between the high and low stakes examinations than females, and Whites exhibit a larger drop in performance compared to minorities. Differences between high and low stakes tests are partly explained by the fact that males and whites exert lower effort in low stakes tests compared to females and minorities.
    Keywords: Experiment; Gender Gap; GRE; high stakes; incentives; low stakes; Performance; race gap
    JEL: C93 I23 I24 J15 J16 J24
    Date: 2018–12
  6. By: Anat Bracha; Alma Cohen; Lynn Conell-Price
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates the effect of gender-based affirmative action (AA) on performance in the lab, focusing on a tournament environment. The tournament is based on GRE math questions commonly used in graduate school admission, and at which women are known to perform worse on average than men. We find heterogeneous effect of AA on female participants: AA lowers the performance of high-ability women and increases the performance of low-ability women. Our results are consistent with two possible mechanisms—one is that AA changes incentives differentially for low- and high-ability women, and the second is that AA triggers stereotype threat.
    JEL: C91 I28 J16 J78 K19 K31
    Date: 2018–12
  7. By: Aleksandr Alekseev (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: I show how using response times as a proxy for effort coupled with an explicit process-based model can address a long-standing issue of how to separate the effect of cognitive ability on performance from the effect of motivation. My method is based on a dynamic stochastic model of optimal effort choice in which ability and motivation are the structural parameters. I show how to estimate these parameters from the data on outcomes and response times in a cognitive task. In a laboratory experiment, I find that performance on a Digit-Symbol test is a noisy and biased measure of cognitive ability. Ranking subjects by their performance leads to an incorrect ranking by their ability in a substantial number of cases. These results suggest that interpreting performance on a cognitive task as ability may be misleading.
    Keywords: cognitive ability, test scores, response times, drift-diffusion model, choice-process data
    JEL: C24 C41 C91 D91 J24
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Lydon, Reamonn (Central Bank of Ireland); Mathä, Thomas (Banque Centrale du Luxembourg); Millard, Stephen (Bank of England)
    Abstract: Using firm-level data from a large-scale European survey among 20 countries, we analyse the determinants of firms using short-time work (STW). We show that firms are more likely to use STW in case of negative demand shocks. We show that STW schemes are more likely to be used by firms with high degrees of firm-specific human capital, high firing costs, and operating in countries with stringent employment protection legislation and a high degree of downward nominal wage rigidity. STW use is higher in countries with formalised schemes and in countries where these schemes were extended in response to the recent crisis. On the wider economic impact of STW, we show that firms using the schemes are significantly less likely to lay off permanent workers in response to a negative shock, with no impact for temporary workers. Relating our STW take-up measure in the micro data to aggregate data on employment and output trends, we show that sectors with a high STW take-up exhibit significantly less cyclical variation in employment.
    Keywords: Firms; survey; crisis; short-time work; wages; recession
    JEL: C25 E24 J63 J68
    Date: 2018–12–07
  9. By: Feld, Jan; Salamanca, Nicolás; Zölitz, Ulf
    Abstract: A substantial share of university instruction happens in tutorial sessions— small group instruction given parallel to lectures. In this paper, we study whether instructors with a higher academic rank teach tutorials more effectively in a setting where students are randomly assigned to tutorial groups. We find this to be largely not the case. Academic rank is unrelated to students’ current and future performance and only weakly positively related to students’ course evaluations. Building on these results, we discuss different staffing scenarios that show that universities can substantially reduce costs by increasingly relying on lower-ranked instructors for tutorial teaching.
    Keywords: Tertiary education, Academics, Professors, Tutors, Tutorial teaching, OECD countries,
    Date: 2018
  10. By: van den Berg, Gerard J. (University of Bristol); Dauth, Christine (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg); Homrighausen, Pia; Stephan, Gesine (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)
    Abstract: We analyze a German labor market program that subsidizes skill-upgrading occupational training for workers employed in small and medium sized enterprises. This WeGebAU program reimburses training costs but take-up has been low. In an experimental setup, we mailed 10,000 brochures to potentially eligible workers, informing them about the importance of skill-upgrading occupational training in general and about WeGebAU in particular. Using combined survey and register data, we analyze the impact of receiving the brochure on workers' awareness of the program, on take-up of WeGebAU and other training, and on job characteristics. The survey data reveal that the brochure more than doubled workers' awareness of the program. We do not find effects on WeGebAU program take-up or short-run labor market outcomes in the register data. However, the information treatment positively affected participation in other (unsubsidized) training among employees under 45 years.
    Keywords: information treatment, wages, skills, employment, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: J24 J65
    Date: 2018–11

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