nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2022‒11‒07
twelve papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Information, Loss Framing, and Spillovers in Pay-for-Performance Contracts By Bauhoff,Sebastian Peter Alexander; Kandpal,Eeshani
  2. Identifying and Overcoming Gender Barriers in Tech: A Field Experiment on Inaccurate Statistical Discrimination By Jan Feld; Edwin Ip; Andreas Leibbrandt; Joseph Vecci
  3. Career and Non-Career Jobs: Dangling the Carrot By Andri Chassamboulli; Demetris Koursaros
  4. Staff Engagement, Coworkers' Complementarity and Employee Retention: Evidence from English NHS Hospitals By Moscelli, Giuseppe; Sayli, Melisa; Mello, Marco
  5. Technical Change, Task Allocation, and Labor Unions By Marczak, Martyna; Beissinger, Thomas; Brall, Franziska
  6. Perceived Effects of the Performance-Based Bonus on Government Employees' Productivity By Cuenca, Janet S.; Albert, Jose Ramon G.; Mendoza, Ronald U.; Vizmanos, Jana Flor V.; Muñoz, Mika S.
  7. Acquisitions, management and efficiency in Rwanda's coffee industry By Rocco Macchiavello; Ameet Morjaria
  8. Job Preferences of Aged Care Workers in Australia: Results from a Discrete Choice Experiment By Mavromaras, Kostas; Isherwood, Linda; Mahuteau, Stephane; Ratcliffe, Julie; Xiao, Lily; Harrington, Ann; Wei, Zhang
  9. It Hurts to Ask By Benabou, Roland; Jaroszewicz, Ania; Loewenstein, George
  10. The wage elasticity of recruitment By Boris Hirsch; Elke J. Jahn; Alan Manning; Michael Oberfichtner
  11. Measuring Socially Appropriate Social Preferences By Carpenter, Jeffrey P.; Robbett, Andrea
  12. Monitoring Harassment in Organizations By Laura Boudreau; Sylvain Chassang; Ada González-Torre; Rachel Heath

  1. By: Bauhoff,Sebastian Peter Alexander; Kandpal,Eeshani
    Abstract: Do incentives matter beyond the information conveyed by pay-for-performance contracts? Does loss framing matter? And do incomplete contracts generate spillovers on unincentivized tasks? This study reports on a framed field experiment with 1,363 maternity care workers in 691 primary health facilities in Nigeria to answer these questions. Participants were randomized into three study arms—(1) information with a flat participation fee, (2) performance-based rewards, and (3) performance-based penalties. In each arm, participants had to identify correct clinical actions based on the records of hypothetical patients receiving maternity care. Five of fifteen possible actions were incentivized but performance was measured on all fifteen. Compared to information alone, both rewards and penalties increase time on task by 11 percent, correct overall performance by 6 to 8 percent, and directly incentivized performance by 20 percent. Incentives also generate positive spillovers of 14 percent on unincentivized tasks. Loss framing does not affect performance. Results suggest that improving health worker effort by 8 percent would have an impact on neonatal mortality at par with the short run effect of adding a physician to a health facility. Finally, findings show that a small incentive captures most of the impact, implying that incentives work by making information more effective and that pay-for-performance contracts can be made significantly more cost-effective.
    Keywords: Health Care Services Industry,Reproductive Health,Health Economics&Finance,Health Service Management and Delivery
    Date: 2021–06–02
  2. By: Jan Feld; Edwin Ip; Andreas Leibbrandt; Joseph Vecci
    Abstract: Women are significantly underrepresented in the technology sector. We design a field experiment to identify statistical discrimination in job applicant assessments and test treatments to help improve hiring of the best applicants. In our experiment, we measure the programming skills of job applicants for a programming job. Then, we recruit a sample of employers consisting of human resource and tech professionals and incentivize them to assess the performance of these applicants based on their resumes. We find evidence consistent with inaccurate statistical discrimination: while there are no significant gender differences in performance, employers believe that female programmers perform worse than male programmers. This belief is strongest among female employers, who are more prone to selection neglect than male employers. We also find experimental evidence that statistical discrimination can be mitigated. In two treatments, in which we provide assessors with additional information on the applicants’ aptitude or personality, we find no gender differences in the perceived applicant performance. Together, these findings show the malleability of statistical discrimination and provide levers to improve hiring and reduce gender imbalance.
    Keywords: field experiment, discrimination, beliefs, gender
    JEL: C93 J23 J71 J78
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Andri Chassamboulli; Demetris Koursaros
    Abstract: We develop a model of the labor market with career and non-career jobs. Workers in career jobs start at the low rank and can be promoted to a higher rank. Non-career jobs have the typical single-rank structure. We show that it is optimal for career firms to incentivize their employees through the option value of a promotion. By increasing the wage spread between low and top positions they can elicit more effort from the mass of the workers in low ranks, while rewarding handsomely only the very few that get promoted. We explore the macroeconomic implications of this hierarchical payment structure. We show how our model can provide interesting insights into various puzzles such as the wage gap between men and women, the cyclicality of the labor wedge and the low volatility of the real wage relative to hours and output along the business cycle, without imposing ad-hoc nominal wage rigidities.
    Keywords: career-jobs; promotions; job hierarchy; labor wedge; gender wage gap
    JEL: J31 J33 J64 E24
    Date: 2022–10–07
  4. By: Moscelli, Giuseppe (University of Surrey); Sayli, Melisa (University of Surrey); Mello, Marco (University of Surrey)
    Abstract: Retention of skilled workers is essential for labour-intensive organisations like hospitals, where an excessive turnover of doctors and nurses can reduce the quality and quantity of services to patients. In the public sector, where salaries are often not negotiable at individual level, workers increasingly care about the non-pecuniary aspects of their jobs. We empirically investigate the role played by two such aspects, staff engagement and the retention of complementary coworkers, in affecting employee retention within the public hospital sector. We exploit a unique and rich panel dataset based on employee-level payroll and staff survey records from the universe of English NHS hospitals, and estimate dynamic panel data models to deal with the bias due to reverse causality. We find that nurses' retention is positively associated with their engagement, whereas doctors' retention is positively associated with nurses' retention. This heterogeneous response of employee retention can be explained by the hierarchy of workers' professional roles within the organisation.
    Keywords: employee retention, staff engagement, job complementarities, coworkers, hospitals, endogeneity
    JEL: C33 C36 I11 J22 J28 J63
    Date: 2022–10
  5. By: Marczak, Martyna (University of Hohenheim); Beissinger, Thomas (University of Hohenheim); Brall, Franziska (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: We propose a novel framework that integrates the "task approach" for a more precise production modeling into the search-and-matching model with low- and high-skilled workers, and wage setting by labor unions. We establish the relationship between task reallocation and changes in wage pressure, and examine how skill- biased technical change (SBTC) affects the task composition, wages of both skill groups, and unemployment. In contrast to the canonical model with a fixed task allocation, low-skilled workers may be harmed in terms of either lower wages or higher unemployment depending on the relative task-related productivity profile of both worker types. We calibrate the model to the US and German data for the periods 1995-2005 and 2010-2017. The simulated effects of SBTC on low-skilled unemployment are largely consistent with observed developments. For example, US low-skilled unemployment increases due to SBTC in the earlier period and decreases after 2010.
    Keywords: task approach, search and matching, labor unions, skill-biased technical change, labor demand, wage setting
    JEL: J64 J51 E23 E24 O33
    Date: 2022–10
  6. By: Cuenca, Janet S.; Albert, Jose Ramon G.; Mendoza, Ronald U.; Vizmanos, Jana Flor V.; Muñoz, Mika S.
    Abstract: The Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) was established in 2012 primarily to reward exemplary employee performance and improve public service delivery. This study is a follow-up of a process evaluation of the PBB conducted in 2019. It undertook a perception-based survey on the effects of the PBB with more than 1,200 respondents. The paper suggests that while the PBB has had design issues and implementation challenges, the program is generally welcomed across the bureaucracy. There is evidence that the PBB has helped boost the motivation and productivity of employees, which can lead to individual and agency-wide improvements. It also shows that the PBB can be redesigned to further hone its effects on public sector reforms.
    Keywords: performance-based bonus; public sector performance; Results-Based Performance Management
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Rocco Macchiavello; Ameet Morjaria
    Abstract: Well-functioning markets allocate assets to owners that improve firms' management and performance. We study the effects of ownership changes on coffee mills in Rwanda - an industry in which managing relationships with farmers and seasonal workers is important and that has seen many ownership changes in recent years. We combine administrative data, a survey panel of mills and an original survey of acquirers that allows us to construct acquirer-specific and target-specific control groups. A difference-in-differences design reveals that ownership changes do not improve performance unless the mill is acquired by a foreign firm. Our preferred interpretation - supported by detailed survey evidence that considers alternative hypotheses - is that foreign firms successfully implement management changes in key operational areas. Upon acquisition, both domestic and foreign owned mills attempt to implement similar changes, but domestic firms face resistance from workers and farmers. Domestic owners have relationships with their local communities, which can create opportunities to establish new mills and acquire existing ones. However, these same relationships create pressure to maintain status-quo relational arrangements, which makes it harder to implement managerial changes.
    Keywords: management, performance, market reforms, coffee, Rwanda
    Date: 2022–07–21
  8. By: Mavromaras, Kostas (University of Adelaide); Isherwood, Linda (University of Adelaide); Mahuteau, Stephane (University of Adelaide); Ratcliffe, Julie (Flinders University); Xiao, Lily (Flinders University); Harrington, Ann (Flinders University); Wei, Zhang (University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: Using a Discrete Choice Experiment we estimate the relative value attached by workers on core job attributes identified by previous qualitative research on the Aged Care workforce in Australia: salary (hourly); work hours; training/skill development; staffing numbers; processes for managing work-related stress; and freedom in the job. In this mostly part- time employed workforce, the opportunity for more workhours is welcome, but relatively less important. Nurses (enrolled and more so registered, being typically better-paid and higher-qualified) value pay rises less and training opportunities more than their (typically lower-paid and lower-qualified) care worker counterparts. Casual/temporary workers prefer workplaces that are adequately staffed relatively more than their permanently employed counterparts. In the context of increasing demand for more and for better-quality Aged Care services, the paper's overall findings can inform the current multi-faceted debate about a sustainable way for the Aged Care sector to attract, retain and utilize its workforce.
    Keywords: aged care workforce, discrete choice experiments, job attributes, job preferences
    JEL: J14 J21 J39 C25 I19
    Date: 2022–10
  9. By: Benabou, Roland (Princeton University); Jaroszewicz, Ania (Harvard University); Loewenstein, George (Carnegie Mellon University)
    Abstract: We analyze the offering, asking, and granting of help or other benefits as a three-stage game with bilateral private information between a person in need of help and a potential help-giver. Asking entails the risk of rejection, which can be painful: since unawareness of the need can no longer be an excuse, a refusal reveals that the person in need, or the relationship, is not valued very much. We show that a failure to ask can occur even when most helpers would help if told about the need, and that even though a greater need makes help both more valuable and more likely to be granted, it can reduce the propensity to ask. When potential helpers concerned about the recipient's ask-shyness can make spontaneous offers, this can be a double-edged sword: offering reveals a more caring type and helps solve the failure-to-ask problem, but not offering reveals a not-socaring one, and this itself deters asking. This discouragement effect can also generate a trap where those in need hope for an offer while willing helpers hope for an ask, resulting in significant inefficiencies.
    Keywords: helping, asking, rejection, respect, shyness, altruism, cooperation, prosocial, image, reputation, information aversion
    JEL: D03 D23 D64 D82 D83 D91
    Date: 2022–09
  10. By: Boris Hirsch (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre); Elke J. Jahn (Institute for Employment Research, University of Bayreuth, and IZA); Alan Manning (London School of Economics and Centre for Economic Performance); Michael Oberfichtner (Institute for Employment Research and IZA)
    Abstract: One of the factors likely to affect the market power of employers is the sensitivity of the flow of recruits to the offered wage, but there is very little research on this. This paper presents a methodology for estimating the wage elasticity of recruitment and applies it to German data. Our estimates of the wage elasticity of recruitment are about 1.4. We also report evidence that high-wage employers are more selective in hiring, in which case the relevant recruitment elasticity should be higher, about 2.2. Together with prior estimates of the quit elasticity these results imply that wages are 72–77% of the marginal product of labour. Further, we find lower elasticities for recruits hired from non-employment as well as for women, non- German nationals, non-prime-age workers, less skilled workers, and workers with less complex jobs.
    Keywords: Monopsony, imperfect labour markets, wage elasticity of recruitment
    JEL: J42 J31
    Date: 2022–10
  11. By: Carpenter, Jeffrey P. (Middlebury College); Robbett, Andrea (Middlebury College)
    Abstract: We extend the literature structurally estimating social preferences by accounting for the desire to adhere to social norms. Our representative agent is strongly motivated by norms and failing to account for this causes us to overestimate how much agents care about helping those who are worse off. We endogenously identify latent preference types that replicate previous estimates; however, accounting for the normative appropriateness of decisions reveals different motives. Rather than being mostly altruistic, participants are better described as strong altruists or norm followers. Our results (which are robust to moral wiggle room) thus recast prior findings in a new light.
    Keywords: experiment, social norms, social preferences, altruism, moral wiggle room, structural estimation, finite mixture models
    JEL: C91 D01 D91 D63 D30 C49
    Date: 2022–09
  12. By: Laura Boudreau (Columbia University); Sylvain Chassang (Princeton University); Ada González-Torre (Ben Gurion University); Rachel Heath (University of Washington)
    Abstract: We study the value of garbled survey methods as a tool to monitor harassment. Theory predicts that randomly switching reports that no harassment took place to reports that harassment did take place can improve information transmission by guaranteeing participants plausible deniability in the event they file an incriminating report. We evaluate this prediction in a phone-based survey of workers at apparel manufacturing plants in Bangladesh. We vary the survey method (direct or garbled), the degree of personally identifiable information (team id) associated with the report, as well as the degree of rapport built with respondents. We find that garbling increases reporting of sexual harassment by about 306%, physical harassment by 295%, and threatening behavior by 56%. We also find a negative effect of attaching team id to the report. We use the improved data to assess policy-relevant aspects of harassment: How prevalent is it? What share of managers is responsible for the misbehavior? How isolated are victims? How do harassment rates compare for men and women? Based on the answers to these questions, we draw implications for decision-makers.
    Keywords: Harassment, Garbled Survey Method, Direct Survey Method, Bangladesh
    JEL: D79 C83
    Date: 2022–07

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