nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2021‒03‒22
seven papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Information Provision, Incentives, and Attention: A Field Experiment on Facilitating and Influencing Managers' Decisions By Manthei, Kathrin; Sliwka, Dirk; Vogelsang, Timo
  2. Informed Choices: Gender Gaps in Career Advice By Yana Gallen; Melanie Wasserman
  3. Teacher Characteristics and Student Performance: Evidence from Random Teacher-Student Assignments in China By Huang, Wei; Li, Teng; Pan, Yinghao; Ren, Jinyang
  4. The Right to Quit Work: An Efficiency Rationale for Restricting the Freedom of Contract By Müller, Daniel; Schmitz, Patrick W.
  5. COVID-19 Is a Persistent Reallocation Shock By Barrero, Jose Maria; Bloom, Nick; Davis, Steven J.; Meyer, Brent H.
  6. Employee Training and Firm Performance: Evidence from ESF Grant Applications By Martins, Pedro S.
  7. Does Pay Transparency Affect the Gender Wage Gap? Evidence from Austria By Andreas Gulyas; Sebastian Seitz; Sourav Sinha

  1. By: Manthei, Kathrin (RFH Koeln); Sliwka, Dirk (University of Cologne); Vogelsang, Timo (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)
    Abstract: The core role of managerial accounting is to provide information to facilitate managers' decisions and influence their behavior through incentives. We study the impact of these two roles of information on profits by implementing a field experiment in a large retail chain. In a 2 × 2 factorial design, we vary: (i) whether store managers obtain access to decision-facilitating accounting information on the profit margins of individual products and (ii) whether they receive performance pay based on an objective profit metric to influence their decisions. We find that both practices increase profits significantly, albeit through different behavioral channels. In particular, managers make use of the information provided by placing higher-margin products, thereby raising the gross profit margin. While we hypothesized a priori that both practices are complements, we find that the profit increases induced by the combined intervention do not significantly exceed those of the separate interventions. We attribute this finding to an attention-directing role of the interventions toward the objective of raising profits, thereby inducing a countervailing substitution effect. We show that this effect fades over time such that the combined intervention tends to induce more persistent profit increases.
    Keywords: management controls, performance pay, monetary incentives, decision-facilitating, decision-influencing, accounting information, field experiment, complementarity
    JEL: J33 M52 C93
    Date: 2021–03
  2. By: Yana Gallen; Melanie Wasserman
    Abstract: This paper estimates gender differences in access to informal information regarding the labor market. We conduct a large-scale field experiment in which real college students seek information from 10,000 working professionals about various career paths, and we randomize whether a professional receives a message from a male or a female student. We focus the experimental design and analysis on two career attributes that prior research has shown to differentially affect the labor market choices of women: the extent to which a career accommodates work/life balance and has a competitive culture. When students ask broadly for information about a career, we find that female students receive substantially more information on work/life balance relative to male students. This gender difference persists when students disclose that they are concerned about work/life balance. In contrast, professionals mention workplace culture to male and female students at similar rates. After the study, female students are more dissuaded from their preferred career path than male students, and this difference is in part explained by professionals’ greater emphasis on work/life balance when responding to female students. Finally, we elicit students’ preferences for professionals and find that gender differences in information provision would remain if students contacted their most preferred professionals.
    Keywords: career information, gender, discrimination, correspondence study
    JEL: C93 J16 J24 J71
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Huang, Wei (National University of Singapore); Li, Teng (National University of Singapore); Pan, Yinghao (National University of Singapore); Ren, Jinyang (Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impacts of teacher characteristics on student performance using a nationally representative and randomly assigned teacher-student sample in China. We find that having a more experienced or female homeroom teacher (HRT) with additional classroom management duties significantly improves students' test scores and cognitive and noncognitive abilities. In contrast, these effects are not observed for subject teachers who are responsible only for teaching. More experienced or female HRTs are also associated with a better classroom environment, more self-motivated students, more parental involvement, and higher parental expectations. These mechanisms explain 10-25 percent of HRT effects on test scores and cognitive ability and 50-60 percent of HRT effects on noncognitive ability. Our findings highlight the importance of teacher management skills in education production.
    Keywords: teacher value-added, education production function, student performance
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2021–03
  4. By: Müller, Daniel; Schmitz, Patrick W.
    Abstract: A principal hires an agent to provide a verifiable service. Initially, the agent can exert unobservable effort to reduce his disutility from providing the service. If the agent is free to waive his right to quit, he may voluntarily sign a contract specifying an inefficiently large service level, while there are insufficient incentives to exert effort. If the agent's right to quit is inalienable, the underprovision of effort may be further aggravated, but the service level is ex post efficient. Overall, it turns out that the total surplus can be larger when agents are not permitted to contractually waive their right to quit work. Yet, we also study an extension of our model in which even the agent can be strictly better off when the parties have the contractual freedom to waive the agent's right to quit.
    Keywords: Moral hazard; Incentive theory; Labor contracts; Efficiency wages; Law and economics
    JEL: D23 D86 J83 K12 K31 M55
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Barrero, Jose Maria (Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico); Bloom, Nick; Davis, Steven J.; Meyer, Brent H.
    Abstract: Drawing on data from the firm-level Survey of Business Uncertainty, we present three pieces of evidence that COVID-19 is a persistent reallocation shock. First, rates of excess job and sales reallocation over 24-month periods have risen sharply since the pandemic struck, especially for sales. We compute these rates by aggregating over monthly firm-level observations that look back 12 months and ahead 12 months. Second, as of December 2020, firm-level forecasts of sales revenue growth over the next year imply a continuation of recent changes, not a reversal. Third, COVID-19 shifted relative employment growth trends in favor of industries with a high capacity of employees to work from home, and against those with a low capacity.
    Date: 2021–01–25
  6. By: Martins, Pedro S. (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: As work changes more quickly, firm-provided training may become more relevant. However, there is little causal evidence about the effects of training on firms. This paper studies a large training grants programme in Portugal, supported by the European Social Fund, contrasting firms that received the grants and firms that also applied but were unsuccessful. Combining several rich data sets, we compare a large number of potential outcomes of these firms, while following them over several years both before and after the grant decision. Our difference-in-differences models estimate significant positive effects on take up (training hours and expenditure), with limited deadweight; and that such additional training led to increased sales, value added, employment, productivity, and exports. These effects tend to be of at least 5% and, in some cases, 10% or more, and are robust in multiple dimensions.
    Keywords: training subsidies, productivity, programme evaluation
    JEL: J24 H43 M53
    Date: 2021–02
  7. By: Andreas Gulyas; Sebastian Seitz; Sourav Sinha
    Abstract: We study the 2011 Austrian Pay Transparency Law, which requires firms above a size threshold to publish reports on the gender pay gap. We exploit variation across firm size and time, to study the effects of transparency on the gender wage gap and individual wages, using the universe of Austrian social security records. Our results show that the policy had no discernible effects on male and female wages, and therefore no significant effects on the gender wage gap. The effects are precisely estimated and we can rule out that the policy narrowed the gender wage gap by more than half a percentage point. We find no evidence for wage compression at the establishment level. The policy led to an increase in the retention rate of workers, which points towards higher job satisfaction due to pay transparency.
    Keywords: Pay Transparency, Gender Wage Gap
    JEL: J08 J31 J38 J78
    Date: 2020–07

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