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

  1. The Impact of Absent Coworkers on Productivity in Teams By Hoey, Sam; Peeters, Thomas; van Ours, Jan C.
  2. The Targeted Assignment of Incentive Schemes By Saskia Opitz; Dirk Sliwka; Timo Vogelsang; Tom Zimmermann
  3. Show Me the Amenity: Are Higher-Paying Firms Better All Around? By Jason Sockin
  4. The Impact of Team Incentives on Performance in Graduate School: Evidence from Two Pilot RCTs By John List; Rohen Shah
  5. Screening with Multitasking By Michael Dinerstein; Isaac M. Opper

  1. By: Hoey, Sam (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Peeters, Thomas (Erasmus University Rotterdam); van Ours, Jan C. (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: We study how workers in production teams are affected by the temporary absence and replacement of a coworker. When a substitute coworker is absent, the remaining coworkers produce less output per working time. They compensate for this by increasing their working time at the expense of the (less able) replacement worker, such that the output loss per remaining worker is not significant. When a complementary coworker is absent, we see a similar loss in output per minute worked, but this directly leads to a loss of output produced, because remaining workers do not take over the absent worker’s tasks.
    Keywords: absenteeism, worker productivity, team production, ice hockey
    JEL: M50 M54 J24
    Date: 2022–07
  2. By: Saskia Opitz (University of Cologne, Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Corporate Development); Dirk Sliwka (University of Cologne, Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Corporate Development); Timo Vogelsang (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management,Department of Accounting); Tom Zimmermann (University of Cologne, Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Corporate Development)
    Abstract: A central question in designing optimal policies concerns the assignment of individuals with different observable characteristics to different treatments. We study this question in the context of increasing workers’ performance by using targeted incentives based on measurable worker characteristics. To do so, we ran two large-scale experiments. The key results are that (i) performance can be predicted by accurately measured personality traits, (ii) a machine learning algorithm can detect such heterogeneity in worker responses to different schemes, and (iii) a targeted assignment of schemes to individual workers increases performance in a second experiment significantly above the level achieved by the single best scheme.
    Keywords: Randomized Controlled Trial, Incentives, Heterogeneity, Treatment Effects, Selection, Algorithm
    JEL: C21 C93 M52
    Date: 2022–08
  3. By: Jason Sockin
    Abstract: Do firms that pay more offer better amenities, or does the greater pay compensate for worse amenities? Using matched U.S. employee-employer data, this paper estimates the joint distribution of wages, amenities, and job satisfaction across firms. Fifty amenities are captured applying topic modeling to workers’ free-response descriptions of their jobs. Three main findings emerge. First, higher-paying firms offer better amenities. Second, employees value amenities: one-third have a more pronounced effect on satisfaction than pay. Third, since workers are willing to pay for satisfaction and because the covariance between amenities and wages is sufficiently high, amenities widen compensation dispersion across firms.
    Keywords: job amenities, job satisfaction, inequality
    JEL: J01 J32 M50
    Date: 2022
  4. By: John List; Rohen Shah
    Abstract: In organizations, teams are ubiquitous. "Weakest Link" and "Best Shot" are incentive schemes that tie a group member's compensation to the output of their group's least and most productive member, respectively. In this paper, we test the impact of these incentive schemes by conducting two pilot RCTs (one in-person, one online), which included more than 250 graduate students in a graduate math class. Students were placed in study groups of three or four students, and then groups were randomized to either control, Weakest Link, or Best Shot incentives. We find evidence that such incentive approaches can affect test scores, both in-person and online.
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Michael Dinerstein; Isaac M. Opper
    Abstract: What happens when employers would like to screen their employees but only observe a subset of output? We specify a model in which heterogeneous employees respond by producing more of the observed output at the expense of the unobserved output. Though this substitution distorts output in the short-term, we derive three sufficient conditions under which the heterogenous response improves screening efficiency: 1) all employees place similar value on staying in their current role; 2) the employees' utility functions satisfy a variation of the traditional single-crossing condition; 3) employer and worker preferences over output are similar. We then assess these predictions empirically by studying a change to teacher tenure policy in New York City, which increased the role that a single measure -- test score value-added -- played in tenure decisions. We show that in response to the policy teachers increased test score value-added and decreased output that did not enter the tenure decision. The increase in test score value-added was largest for the teachers with more ability to improve students' untargeted outcomes, increasing their likelihood of getting tenure. We find that the endogenous response to the policy announcement reduced the screening efficiency gap -- defined as the reduction of screening efficiency stemming from the partial observability of output -- by 28%, effectively shifting some of the cost of partial observability from the post-tenure period to the pre-tenure period.
    JEL: D23 I21 J08 J24 J41
    Date: 2022–07

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