nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2022‒01‒31
eight papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Peer Learning in Teams and Work Performance: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment By Kamei, Kenju; Ashworth, John
  2. Relational Contracts and Trust in a High-Tech Industry By Calzolari, G.; Felli, L.; Koenen, J.; Spagnolo, G.; Stahl, K. O.
  3. Stochastic Contracts and Subjective Evaluations By Matthias Lang
  4. Worker Beliefs About Outside Options By Simon Jäger; Christopher Roth; Nina Roussille; Benjamin Schoefer
  5. Trade, Human Capital, and Income Risk By Deng, Liuchun; Krishna, Pravin; Senses, Mine Zeynep; Stegmaier, Jens
  6. Do Well Managed Firms Make Better Forecasts? By Nicholas Bloom; Takafumi Kawakubo; Charlotte Meng; Paul Mizen; Rebecca Riley; Tatsuro Senga; John Van Reenen
  7. College Majors and Skills: Evidence from the Universe of Online Job Ads By Steven W. Hemelt; Brad Hershbein; Shawn M. Martin; Kevin M. Stange
  8. Willingness to Pay for Workplace Safety By Anelli, Massimo; Koenig, Felix

  1. By: Kamei, Kenju; Ashworth, John
    Abstract: A novel field experiment shows that learning activities in pairs with a greater spread in abilities lead to better individual work performance, relative to those in pairs with similar abilities. The positive effect of the former is not limited to their performance in peer learning material, but it also spills over to their performance in other areas. The underlying improvement comes from the stronger increased performance of those whose achievements were weak prior to peer learning. This implies that exogenously determining learning partners with different abilities helps improve productivity through knowledge sharing and potential peer effects.
    Keywords: peer effects, dilemma, knowledge sharing, field experiment, teamwork
    JEL: C93 I23 J24 M54
    Date: 2021–12–19
  2. By: Calzolari, G.; Felli, L.; Koenen, J.; Spagnolo, G.; Stahl, K. O.
    Abstract: We study how informal buyer-supplier relationships in the German automotive industry affect procurement. Using unique data from a survey focusing on these, we show that more trust, the belief that the trading partner acts to maintain the mutual relationship, is associated with both higher quality of the automotive parts and more competition among suppliers. Yet both effects hold only for parts involving unsophisticated technology, not when technology is sophisticated. We rationalize these findings within a relational contracting model that critically focuses on changes in the bargaining power, due to differences in the costs of switching suppliers.
    Keywords: Relational Contracts, Hold-up, Buyer-Supplier Contracts, Bargaining Power
    JEL: D86 L14 L62 O34
    Date: 2021–08–02
  3. By: Matthias Lang
    Abstract: Subjective evaluations are widely used, but call for different contracts from traditional moral-hazard settings. Previous literature shows that contracts require payments to third parties, which real-world contracts rarely use. I show that the implicit assumption of deterministic contracts makes payments to third parties necessary. This paper studies stochastic contracts, like uncertain arbitration procedures or payments in stock options. These contracts incentivize employees without the need for payments to third parties. In addition, stochastic contracts can make the principal better off compared to deterministic contracts. My results also address the puzzle about the prevalence of labor contracts with stochastic compensation.
    Keywords: subjective evaluations, stochastic contracts, budget-balanced contracts, moral hazard, subjective performance measures, incentives
    JEL: D80 J41 J70
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Simon Jäger; Christopher Roth; Nina Roussille; Benjamin Schoefer
    Abstract: Workers wrongly anchor their beliefs about outside options on their current wage. In particular, low-paid workers underestimate wages elsewhere. We document this anchoring bias by eliciting workers’ beliefs in a representative survey in Germany and comparing them to measures of actual outside options in linked administrative labor market data. In an equilibrium model, such anchoring can give rise to monopsony and labor market segmentation. In line with the model, misperceptions are particularly pronounced among workers in low-wage firms. If workers had correct beliefs, at least 10% of jobs, concentrated in low-wage firms, would not be viable at current wages.
    JEL: D91 E03 E24 J3 J31 J42 J6
    Date: 2021–12
  5. By: Deng, Liuchun (Yale-NUS College); Krishna, Pravin (Johns Hopkins University); Senses, Mine Zeynep (Johns Hopkins University); Stegmaier, Jens (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)
    Abstract: In this paper, we empirically assess the causal relationship between trade and individual income risk and study the role that human capital plays in this relationship using a rich, worker-level, longitudinal data set from Germany spanning from 1976 to 2012. Our estimates suggest substantial heterogeneity in labor income risk across workers in different entry cohorts, over workers' life cycles, and across workers with different levels of industry- and occupation- specific human capital. Accounting for entry-cohort effects and age effects, our findings suggest that within-industry changes in imports and exports (per worker) are strongly and causally related to income risk: Imports increase risk and exports decrease risk, and they do so in an economically significant manner. Importantly, we find there to be a complex interplay between human capital and the causal linkage between trade and risk: On average, individuals with higher levels of industry- or occupation-specific human capital experience lower income risk. However, a given increase in net import exposure in an industry increases risk for workers with higher levels of industry tenure more than it does for workers with lower levels of industry tenure. High levels of industry-specific human capital can therefore be costly, from a risk perspective, for workers in highly trade-exposed industries. We find no evidence of such an interaction between risk, industry trade exposure, and occupation-specific human capital.
    Keywords: imports, exports, income risk, human capital, Germany
    JEL: F14 F16 D52 E21 J24 J62
    Date: 2021–12
  6. By: Nicholas Bloom; Takafumi Kawakubo; Charlotte Meng; Paul Mizen; Rebecca Riley; Tatsuro Senga; John Van Reenen
    Abstract: We link a new UK management survey covering 8,000 firms to panel data on productivity in manufacturing and services. There is a large variation in management practices, which are highly correlated with productivity, profitability and size. Uniquely, the survey collects firms’ micro forecasts of their own sales and also macro forecasts of GDP. We find that better managed firms make more accurate micro and macro forecasts, even after controlling for their size, age, industry and many other factors. We also show better managed firms appear aware that their forecasts are more accurate, with lower subjective uncertainty around central values. These stylized facts suggest that one reason for the superior performance of better managed firms is that they knowingly make more accurate forecasts, enabling them to make superior operational and strategic choices.
    JEL: J0
    Date: 2021–12
  7. By: Steven W. Hemelt; Brad Hershbein; Shawn M. Martin; Kevin M. Stange
    Abstract: We document the skill content of college majors as perceived by employers and expressed in the near universe of U.S. online job ads. Social and organizational skills are general in that they are sought by employers of almost all college majors, whereas other skills are more specialized. In turn, general majors––Business and General Engineering––have skill profiles similar to all majors; Nursing and Education are specialized. These cross-major differences in skill profiles explain considerable wage variation, with little role for within-major differences in skills across areas. College majors can thus be reasonably conceptualized as portable bundles of skills.
    JEL: I23 I26 J23 J24
    Date: 2021–12
  8. By: Anelli, Massimo (Bocconi University); Koenig, Felix (Carnegie Mellon University)
    Abstract: This paper develops a revealed-preference approach that uses budget constrain discontinuities to price workplace safety. We track hourly workers who face the decision of how many hours to work at varying levels of Covid-19 risk and leverage state-specific discontinuities in unemployment insurance eligibility criteria to identify the labor supply behavior. Results show large baseline responses at the threshold and increasing responses for higher health risks. The observed behavior implies that workers are willing to accept 34% lower incomes to reduce the fatality rate by one standard deviation, or 1% of income for a one in a million chance of dying.
    Keywords: hazard pay, workplace safety, non-wage amenities, partial unemployment insurance, COVID-19, labor supply, value of life
    JEL: J17 J22 J28
    Date: 2021–12

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