nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2021‒12‒06
eight papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Gender Preferences in Job Vacancies and Workplace Gender Diversity By Card, David; Colella, Fabrizio; Lalive, Rafael
  2. The Right Person for the Right Job: Workers' Prosociality as a Screening Device By Bigoni, Maria; Ploner, Matteo; Vu, Thi-Thanh-Tam
  3. Kind or contented? An investigation of the gift exchange hypothesis in a natural field experiment in Colombia By Bogliacino, Francesco; Grimalda, Gianluca; Pipke, David
  4. Improving Worker Productivity Through Tailored Performance Feedback: Field Experimental Evidence from Bus Drivers By Romensen, Gert-Jan; Soetevent, Adriaan R.
  5. The human side of productivity: Uncovering the role of skills and diversity for firm productivity By Chiara Criscuolo; Peter Gal; Timo Leidecker; Giuseppe Nicoletti
  6. Do Workers Share in Firm Success? Pass-through Estimates for New Zealand By Allan, Corey; Maré, David C.
  7. The Gender Pay Gap in University Student Employment By Paul David Boll; Lukas Mergele; Larissa Zierow
  8. Does gender diversity in the workplace mitigate climate change? By Yener Altunbas; Leonardo Gambacorta; Alessio Reghezza; Giulio Velliscig

  1. By: Card, David (University of California, Berkeley); Colella, Fabrizio (University of Lausanne); Lalive, Rafael (University of Lausanne)
    Abstract: In spring 2005, Austria launched a campaign to inform employers and newspapers that gender preferences in job advertisements were illegal. At the time over 40% of openings on the nation's largest job-board specified a preferred gender. Over the next year the fraction fell to under 5%. We merge data on filled vacancies to linked employer-employee data to study how the elimination of gender preferences affected hiring and job outcomes. Prior to the campaign, most stated preferences were concordant with the firm's existing gender composition, but a minority targeted the opposite gender - a subset we call non-stereotypical vacancies. Vacancies with a gender preference were very likely (>90%) to be filled by someone of that gender. We use pre-campaign vacancies to predict the probabilities of specifying preferences for females, males, or neither gender. We then conduct event studies of the effect of the campaign on the predicted preference groups. We find that the elimination of gender preferences led to a rise in the fraction of women hired for jobs that were likely to be targeted to men (and vice versa), increasing the diversity of hiring workplaces. Partially offsetting this effect, we find a reduction in the success of non-stereotypical vacancies in hiring the targeted gender, and indications of a decline in the efficiency of matching. For the much larger set of stereotypical vacancies, however, vacancy filling times, wages, and job durations were largely unaffected by the campaign, suggesting that the elimination of stated preferences had at most small consequences on overall job match efficiency.
    Keywords: gender preference, workplace gender segregation, anti-discrimination policy
    JEL: J16 J68 J63
    Date: 2021–09
  2. By: Bigoni, Maria (University of Bologna); Ploner, Matteo (University of Trento); Vu, Thi-Thanh-Tam (University of Trento)
    Abstract: The impact of workers' non-pecuniary motivation on their productivity is a fundamental issue in labor economics. Previous studies indicate that prosocially motivated workers may perform better when assigned to jobs having socially desirable implications – even if effort is non contractible and they are offered a low-powered fixed-compensation scheme – as compared to a standard job with an effort-contingent payment. This suggests that profit maximizing employers should assign workers to different jobs, based on workers' prosociality. We run an experiment to explore the link between workers' prosociality and their level of effort under a prosocial and a standard job, and show that employers actually exploit the information on workers' prosociality to assign them the type of job that would be most profitable from the firm's perspective.
    Keywords: dictator game, incentives, laboratory experiment, principal-agent game, real-effort task
    JEL: C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2021–10
  3. By: Bogliacino, Francesco; Grimalda, Gianluca; Pipke, David
    Abstract: The gift exchange hypothesis postulates that workers reciprocate above market-clearing wages with above-minimum effort. This hypothesis has received mixed support in dyadic employer-worker relationships. We present a field-experimental test to assess this hypothesis in the context of a triadic relationship in which only one out of two workers receives a pay increase. We conjecture that inequality aversion motivations may thwart positive reciprocity motivations and analyze the interaction between such motivations theoretically. Across three treatments, the pay increase is justified to workers based on either relative merit or relative need or was arbitrary as no justification was offered. Two conditions in which either none or both workers receive a bonus serve as the reference. In contrast to the gift exchange hypothesis, we find that pay increases lead to a decrease in productivity. Such a decrease is most sizable in the condition where both workers receive the bonus. A post-diction of this result is that workers interpret the monetary bonus as a signal of the employer's contentment with their effort, which makes them feel entitled to reduce their effort. In other treatments, receiving the pay increase while the coworker does not has a positive effect on productivity, especially when the pay increase is based on merit. This result is consistent with statusseeking preferences rather than aversion against advantageous inequality. Conversely, not receiving the pay increase while the coworker does, leads to lower productivity, especially when the pay increase is assigned based on relative needs.
    Keywords: Gift exchange,employer-worker relationship,pay inequality,field experiment,reciprocity,labor market,effort provision,fairness,wage inequality
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Romensen, Gert-Jan; Soetevent, Adriaan R.
    Abstract: Can the design and intensity of performance feedback be used to improve worker productivity? We analyze two forms of feedback in a sample of 409 drivers at a large Dutch bus company: written peer-comparison reports and in-person coaching by high-achieving peers. We experimentally vary the nature and number of peer-comparison messages that drivers receive in their written feedback report. We exploit the quasi-experimental variation in the in-person coaching program implemented in parallel to the written feedback to analyze its effects. We find no effect of the announcement and introduction of the company's written feedback program on fuel efficiency. Including peer-comparison messages into these reports is generally ineffective in improving either fuel economy or outcomes pertaining to passenger comfort. In-person coaching however generates significant improvements on all dimensions for drivers in the bottom half of the performance distribution for about eight weeks. In-person coaching weakens the impact of written peer-comparison feedback but not vice versa.
    Keywords: labor productivity,feedback,peer comparisons,field experiment
    JEL: D23 J24 M53 Q55
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Chiara Criscuolo; Peter Gal; Timo Leidecker; Giuseppe Nicoletti
    Abstract: Relying on linked employer-employee datasets from 10 countries, this paper documents that the skills and the diversity of the workforce and of managers – the human side of businesses – account on average for about one third of the labour productivity gap between firms at the productivity “frontier” (the top 10% within each detailed industry) and medium performers at the 40-60 percentile of the productivity distribution. The composition of skills, especially the share of high skills, varies the most along the productivity distribution, but low and medium skilled employees make up a substantial share of the workforce even at the frontier.High skills show positive but decreasing productivity returns. Moreover, the skill mix of top firms varies markedly across countries, pointing to the role of different strategies pursued by firms in different policy environments. We also find that managerial skills play a particularly important role, also through complementarities with worker skills. Gender and cultural diversity among managers – and to a lesser extent, among workers – is positively related to firm productivity as well. We discuss public policies that can facilitate the catch-up of firms below the frontier through skills and diversity. These cover a wide range of areas, exerting their influence through three main channels: the supply, upgrading and the matching across firms (the SUM) of skills and other human factors.
    Keywords: diversity, linked employer-employee data, managers, productivity, skills
    JEL: D24 J24 M14
    Date: 2021–12–06
  6. By: Allan, Corey; Maré, David C. (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust)
    Abstract: We study the extent to which firm financial performance is passed on to workers in the form of higher wages and how this has changed over 2002-2018. We measure financial performance as value added per worker and as quasi-rents. Quasi-rents better approximate the resources available to be shared between workers and firms as the measure takes into account the rental cost of capital as well as the reservation wages. We estimate the reservation wage bill for each firm using estimates from a two-way fixed-effect model and further decompose the pass-through into contributions from worker sorting and rent-sharing. Our IV estimates of pass-through are in the range of 0.12 and 0.19 for value added and 0.11 and 0.07 for quasi-rents. Worker sorting explains between 35% and 50% of pass-through. While the extent of overall pass-through is relatively stable over time, the contribution of worker sorting declines dramatically to explain almost none of the estimated pass-through.
    Keywords: wage determination, rent sharing, worker sorting
    JEL: J31 J71 E25 D22
    Date: 2021–10
  7. By: Paul David Boll; Lukas Mergele; Larissa Zierow
    Abstract: Gender pay gaps are commonly studied in populations with already completed educational careers. We focus on an earlier stage by investigating the gender pay gap among university students working alongside their studies. With data from five cohorts of a large-scale student survey from Germany, we use regression and wage decomposition techniques to describe gender pay gaps and potential explanations. We find that female students earn about 6% less on average than male students, which reduces to 4.1% when accounting for a rich set of explanatory variables. The largest explanatory factor is the type of jobs male and female students pursue.
    Keywords: Gender pay gap, university student employment, job types
    JEL: I22 I23 J16 J31
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Yener Altunbas; Leonardo Gambacorta; Alessio Reghezza; Giulio Velliscig
    Abstract: Does having more women in managerial positions improve firm environmental performance? We match firm-corporate governance characteristics with firm-level carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the period 2009-2019 to study the relationship between gender diversity in the workplace and firm carbon emissions. We find that a 1 percentage point increase in the percentage of female managers within the firm leads to a 0.5% decrease in CO2 emissions. We document that this effect is statically significant, also when controlling for institutional differences caused by more patriarchal and hierarchical cultures and religions. At the same time, we show that gender diversity at the managerial level has stronger mitigating effects on climate change if females are also well-represented outside the organization, e.g. in political institutions and civil society organizations. Finally, we find that, after the Paris Agreement, firms with greater gender diversity reduced their CO2 emissions by about 5% more than firms with more male managers. Overall, our results indicate that gender diversity within organizations can have a significant impact in combating climate change.
    JEL: G12 G23 G30 D62 Q54
    Date: 2021–11

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