nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2022‒05‒09
three papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Gender Differences in Competitiveness: The Role of Social Incentives By Michalis Drouvelis; Mary L. Rigdon
  2. People versus Machines: The Impact of Being in an Automatable Job on Australian Worker's Mental Health and Life Satisfaction By Lordan, Grace; Stringer, Eliza-Jane
  3. Can Meaning Make Cents? Making the Meaning of Work Salient for US Manufacturing Workers By Salamone, Alberto; Lordan, Grace

  1. By: Michalis Drouvelis; Mary L. Rigdon
    Abstract: The provision of social incentives in the workplace, where performance benefits a charitable cause, has been frequently used in modern organizations. In this paper, we quantify the impact of social incentives on performance under two incentive schemes: piece rate and a winner-take-all tournament. We introduce social incentives by informing individuals that 50% of their performance earnings will be donated to a charity of their own choice. Our findings indicate that, in the presence of social incentives, women increase their performance by approximately 23% and 27% in the piece rate and tournament payment schemes, respectively. These effects are sizable and significant. Despite the fact that women also become more confident when social incentives are used, their willingness to compete is not affected due to their general lack of willingness to take financial risks.
    Keywords: social incentives, task performance, piece rate, tournament, competitiveness, gender differences
    JEL: C92 D64 J16 J20
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Lordan, Grace (London School of Economics); Stringer, Eliza-Jane (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: This study explores the effect on mental health and life satisfaction of working in an automatable job. We utilise an Australian panel dataset (HILDA), and estimate models that include individual fixed effects, to estimate the association between automatable work and proxies of wellbeing. Overall, we find evidence that automatable work has a small, detrimental impact on the mental health and life satisfaction of workers within some industries, particularly those with higher levels of job automation risk, such as manufacturing. Furthermore, we find no strong trends to suggest that any particular demographic group is disproportionately impacted across industries. These findings are robust to a variety of specifications. We also find evidence of adaptation to these effects after one-year tenure on the job, indicating a limited role for firm policy.
    Keywords: automation, life satisfaction, mental health, job security
    JEL: I10 J20
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Salamone, Alberto (London School of Economics); Lordan, Grace (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: We conducted a field experiment in a small electronics manufacturing firm in the US with the specific aim to improve minutes worked, punctuality, tardiness and safety checks. Our intervention was to put posters on the production floor on a random day, which made salient to the blue-collar employees the meaning and importance of their job, which comprised of routine repetitive tasks, in a before and after design. Overall, the intervention was a success with positive and significant effects consistently found for the outcomes both immediately after the experiment finished (+3 days) and also more than two weeks after (+15 days). Our study highlights it is possible to motivate blue collar manual workers intrinsically by drawing attention to the meaning of their work.
    Keywords: meaning, motivation, blue collar, manufacturing, field experiment
    JEL: J10
    Date: 2022–03

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