nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2021‒04‒19
six papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Affirmative action and application strategies: Evidence from field experiments in Columbia By Banerjee, Ritwik; Ibanez, Marcela; Riener, Gerhard; Sahoo, Soham
  2. Managers’productivity and recruitment in the public sector: the case of school principals By Muñoz, Pablo; Prem, Mounu
  3. Career trajectories in retail and wholesale - A sequential approach By Backman, Mikaela; Nilsson, Helena; Öner, Özge
  4. What are the priorities of bureaucrats? Evidence from conjoint experiments with procurement officials By Tukiainen, Janne; Blesse, Sebastian; Bohne, Albrecht; Giuffrida, Leonardo M.; Jääskeläinen, Jan; Luukinen, Ari; Sieppi, Antti
  5. Performance Evaluation, Influence Activities, and Bureaucratic Work Behavior: Evidence from China By de Janvry, Alain; He, Guojun; Sadoulet, Elisabeth; Wang, Shaoda; Zhang, Qiong
  6. The Dynamics of Goal Setting: Evidence From a Field Experiment on Resource Conservation By Lorenz Goette; Hua-Jing Han; Zhi Hao Lim

  1. By: Banerjee, Ritwik; Ibanez, Marcela; Riener, Gerhard; Sahoo, Soham
    Abstract: Affirmative action changes incentives at all stages of the employment process. In this paper, we study the effects of affirmative action statements in job ads on i) the effort expended on the application process and ii) the manifestation of emotions, as measured by the textual analysis of the content of the motivation letter. To this end, we use data from two field experiments conducted in Colombia. We find that in the Control condition, women spend less time in the application process relative to men. Besides, female motivation letters exhibit lower levels of emotion, as measured by valence, arousal, and dominance. However, those differences vanish in the affirmative action treatment when we announced to job-seekers that half of the positions were reserved for women. In the Affirmative Action condition, the time dedicated by women significantly increased and the motivation letters written by the female candidates showed a significant increase in the expression of positive emotions. The results indicate that affirmative action policies can have significant encouraging effects on both effort and appeal of job applications of women, thereby reducing the gender gap in these outcomes.
    Keywords: Gender,Labor economics,Field experiment
    JEL: C91 J15 M52
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Muñoz, Pablo; Prem, Mounu
    Abstract: We study whether differences in management can explain variation in productivity and how more effective managers can be recruited in absence of high-powered incentives. To investigate this, we first extend the canonical teacher value-added model to account for school principals, and we document substantial variation in their ability to improve students’ learning. Teachers’ survey responses and quasi-experimental designs based on changes in school management validate our measure of principal effectiveness. Then, we leverage the timing of adoption of a civil service reform and show that despite having relatively rigid wages, public schools were able to attract more effective managers after increasing the competitiveness and transparency of their personnel selection process.
    Date: 2021–04–13
  3. By: Backman, Mikaela (Center of Entrepreneurship and Spatial Economics (CEnSE), Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping, Sweden.); Nilsson, Helena (Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut)); Öner, Özge (Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK)
    Abstract: High labor turnover imposes costs on a firm and hinders the accumulation of human capital. In an increasingly competitive market, retaining competent employees is a necessity. To avoid excessive labor turnover, it is necessary to identify which characteristics influence career pathways for employees. Becoming employed and/or staying employed within a certain firm or sector is normally not binary, but rather should be studied as employment-related events within a career trajectory. The combination of the timing and the order of distinct events that form a unique career pathway for an individual can be studied by using sequential analysis. In this paper, we systematically identify the common career paths of individuals who work in retail or wholesale.
    Keywords: career trajectories; retail; wholesale; sequential analysis; employee turnover
    JEL: C35 J24 L81
    Date: 2021–03–01
  4. By: Tukiainen, Janne; Blesse, Sebastian; Bohne, Albrecht; Giuffrida, Leonardo M.; Jääskeläinen, Jan; Luukinen, Ari; Sieppi, Antti
    Abstract: A well-functioning bureaucracy is a precondition for efficient public goods provision. However, bureaucratic decision-making is still largely seen as a black box. We provide novel insights into the preferences of bureaucrats regarding their work outcomes. We focus on a major public sector activity and survey more than 900 real-life procurement officials in Finland and Germany. The questionnaire includes hypothetical choice experiments to study the relative importance of multiple features in tender outcomes. First, bureaucrats state to have substantial discretion at work but no important incentives. Second, our experimental results show that procurers are particularly worried about avoiding negative risks concerning prices and supplier reputation. Third, an avoidance of bidders with prior bad performance appears to be an extremely important factor. Fourth, procurers value a certain degree of competition, while litigation concerns and regional favoritism play only a small role. The striking lack of heterogeneous effects points towards the role of intrinsic motivation among public buyers in countries with high public sector capacity.
    Keywords: Bureaucrats,Public Procurement,Preferences,Intrinsic Motivation,Conjoint Experiment
    JEL: D73 D90 H11 H57 H83 K41 M54
    Date: 2021
  5. By: de Janvry, Alain; He, Guojun; Sadoulet, Elisabeth; Wang, Shaoda; Zhang, Qiong
    Abstract: Subjective performance evaluation is widely used by firms and governments toprovide work incentives. However, delegating evaluation power to local seniorleadership could induce influence activities: agents might devote much effortsto please their supervisors, rather than focusing on productive tasks that benefittheir organizations. We conduct a large-scale randomized field experimentamong Chinese local government employees and provide the first rigorousempirical evidence on the existence and implications of influence activities. Wefind that employees do engage in evaluator-specific influence to affectevaluation outcomes, and that this process can be partly observed by their coworkers.However, introducing uncertainty in the identity of the evaluatordiscourages evaluator-specific influence activities and significantly improves thework performance of local government employees.
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences, influence activities, subjective evaluation, civil servants, work performance, China
    Date: 2020–10–21
  6. By: Lorenz Goette; Hua-Jing Han; Zhi Hao Lim
    Abstract: In a field experiment at two residential colleges, we use moral suasion and real-time feedback to examine how residents respond to different goals on shower water use over time. In phase 1 of our intervention, we find significant conservation effects for residents assigned to either the hard or moderate goal, but surprisingly detect no significant differences between both groups. When the goals are adjusted to a common, intermediate level in phase 2, we see a divergence in average treatment effects, driven by underperformance of the group with the initial hard goal. Interestingly, we find that high baseline users in the moderate goal group display larger conservation effects throughout the intervention, but this pattern is not observed in their counterparts with the initial hard goal. Our results suggest that setting too hard a goal can permanently diminish motivation, and adjusting the goal does not undo the initial damage.
    Keywords: field experiment, goal setting, resource conservation
    JEL: C93 Q41 D91
    Date: 2021–04

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