nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2023‒03‒06
nine papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Leveraging social comparisons: the role of peer assignment policies By Julien Senn; Jan Schmitz; Christian Zehnder
  2. Pain or Anxiety? The Health Consequences of Rising Robot Adoption in China By Qiren Liu; Sen Luo; Robert Seamans
  3. Does skill shortage pay off for nursing staff in Germany? Wage premiums for hiring problems, industrial relations, and profitability. By Kölling, Arnd
  4. Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment: Thirty Years On By MacLeod, W. Bentley; Malcomson, James
  5. Task Mismatch and Salary Penalties: Evidence from the Biomedical PhD Labor Market By Holden A. Diethorn; Gerald R. Marschke
  6. Do Role Models Matter in Large Classes? New Evidence on Gender Match Effects in Higher Education By Stephan Maurer; Guido Schwerdt; Simon Wiederhold
  7. The business case for investments in a healthier workplace By Daan Kropman; Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek; Lisanne Bergefurt; Pascale Le Blanc
  8. The wage elasticity of recruitment By Boris, Hirsch; Jahn, Elke J.; Manning, Alan; Oberfichtner, Michael
  9. Women in top management By Vanessa Di Paola; Dominique Epiphane

  1. By: Julien Senn; Jan Schmitz; Christian Zehnder
    Abstract: Using a large-scale real effort experiment, we explore whether and how different peer assignment mechanisms affect worker performance and stress. Letting individuals choose whom to compare to increases productivity to the same extent as a targeted exogenous matching policy aimed at maximizing motivational spillovers. These effects are significantly larger than those obtained through random assignment and their magnitude is comparable to the impact of monetary incentives that increase pay by about 10 percent. A downside of targeted peer assignment is that, unlike endogenous peer selection, it leads to a large increase in stress. We uncover the behavioral origins of these desirable effects of peer choice using a combination of choice data, text analysis and simulations. The key advantage of letting workers choose whom to compare to is that it allows those workers who want to be motivated to compare to a motivating peer while also permitting those for whom social comparisons have little benefits or are too stressful to avoid them. Altogether, our results highlight that policies should not only be compared regarding their effects on output, but also with respect to their potential unintended consequences.
    Keywords: Social comparisons, productivity, stress, incentives, real effort
    JEL: C93 J24 M54
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Qiren Liu; Sen Luo; Robert Seamans
    Abstract: The rising adoption of industrial robots is radically changing the role of workers in the production process. Robots can be used for some of the more physically demanding and dangerous production work, thus reducing the possibility of worker injury. On the other hand, robots may replace workers, potentially increasing worker anxiety about their job safety. In this paper, we investigate how individual physical health and mental health outcomes vary with local exposure to robots for manufacturing workers in China. We find a link between robot exposure and better physical health of workers, particularly for younger workers and those with less education. However, we also find that robot exposure is associated with more mental stress for Chinese workers, particularly older and less educated workers.
    Date: 2023–01
  3. By: Kölling, Arnd
    Abstract: This study investigates the impact of hiring problems, industrial relations at the workplace and profitability on compensation and wage premia for nursing staff in Germany. Based on Mincer-type earnings functions and a large linked-employee dataset, regressions with unobserved individual and firm-specific fixed effects are estimated. The econometric analysis shows that firms with staffing problems pay a wage premium of about 4 to 5% for nurses. However, this only holds for firms that do not have a works council and/or are not profitable. Here, the wage premium for staffing is paid at the expense of previous premiums for co-determination at the workplace or rent sharing. These premiums are significantly reduced or eliminated due to better outside options. Overall, the pay increases for nurses in firms with staffing problems. Nevertheless, this does not apply to all skilled workers in Germany.
    Keywords: Shortage of skilled labor; works councils; wage premium; nurses
    JEL: J23 J24 J52 J63
    Date: 2023–02–02
  4. By: MacLeod, W. Bentley (Princeton University); Malcomson, James (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: "Implicit Contracts, incentive compatibility, and involuntary unemployment" (MacLeod and Malcomson, 1989) remains our most highly cited work. We briefly review the development of this paper and of our subsequent related work, and conclude with reflections on the future of relational contract theory and practice.
    Keywords: relational contracts, informal enforcement, legal enforcement, incentives, private information
    JEL: D21 D23 D82 D86 L14 L22 L23 L24
    Date: 2023–01
  5. By: Holden A. Diethorn; Gerald R. Marschke
    Abstract: We use the labor market for doctorates in the biomedical sciences, where career dislocation is common, as a case study of skill-task mismatch and its consequences. Using longitudinal, worker-level data on biomedical doctorates, we investigate mismatch as an explanation for the negative pecuniary returns to postdoc training. Our data contain unique worker-level job task information that allows us to compare the skills acquired in the years just after graduation to the tasks required in later employment. Our findings reveal a postdoc salary penalty when task mismatch is high, which is frequent, and a salary premium when skills align with tasks. Differences in accumulated task-specific human capital explain the between-sector heterogeneity in the returns to postdoctoral training, including the large and persistent salary penalties from postdoctoral training in industry, and the penalty overall. Task mismatch as a cost of pursuing risky careers in science and in other fields requiring large upfront investments in task-specific human capital has received little attention in the empirical labor literature.
    JEL: I26 J24 J31 J44
    Date: 2023–02
  6. By: Stephan Maurer; Guido Schwerdt; Simon Wiederhold
    Abstract: We study whether female students benefit from being taught by female professors, and whether such gender match effects differ by class size. We use administrative records of a German public university, covering all programs and courses between 2006 and 2018. We find that gender match effects on student performance are sizable in smaller classes, but do not exist in larger classes. This difference suggests that direct and frequent interactions between students and professors are important for the emergence of gender match effects. Instead, the mere fact that one’s professor is female is not sufficient to increase performance of female students.
    Keywords: gender gap, role models, tertiary education, professors
    JEL: I21 I23 I24 J16
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Daan Kropman; Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek; Lisanne Bergefurt; Pascale Le Blanc
    Abstract: The physical work environment plays a role in a broad spectrum of indicators of employee mental health at work, such as concentration, stress, mood, fatigue, engagement, and others. As a (mentally) healthy workforce is a vital aspect for an organization’s success, it is important to optimize physical working conditions within the corporate real estate (CRE). Investments in employee mental health through improving the physical workspace are however not very common, since little is known on the organizational benefits that result from these investments. This study used a systematic literature review to identify all proven relations between the physical work environment, 10 indicators of employee mental health and typical KPI’s of organizational performance. Next, this information was used to develop a business case tool indicating the potential added organizational value of changes in the physical work environment that could improve mental health. The business case tool allows CRE managers to assess both the current workspace and design alternatives on their impact on employee mental health. Results of the 133 selected empirical studies indicated that respectively light & daylight, office layout & office design, and temperature & thermal comfort affect most mental health indicators concepts, particularly with respect to the concepts stress and productivity. In turn, enhanced mental health+ mainly affects the internal business processes of an organization (absenteeism, communication, job satisfaction, performance, presenteeism and staff turnover) together with employee growth (innovation and flexibility). In the long term, these improvements might lead to higher customer satisfaction, revenue growth and reductions in healthcare and recruitment costs. By providing first insights in the potential added organizational value of a healthier workforce, the business case tool presented in the current research enhances the transition where workspace interventions are no longer perceived as expenses but as an investment in the organization’s success.
    Keywords: business cases; employee wellbeing; intervention effectiveness; workplace design
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2022–01–01
  8. By: Boris, Hirsch; Jahn, Elke J.; Manning, Alan; Oberfichtner, Michael
    Abstract: One of the factors affecting the market power of employers is the extent to which higher wages makes recruitment easier. 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: 2022–11–08
  9. By: Vanessa Di Paola (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Dominique Epiphane (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This article shows, from the analysis of 40 interviews of high managers of a european banking company, that managerial models of diversity and performance as well as informal career management practices maintain gender discrimination. Thus, despite the many measures put in place, the patriarchal ­culture of the ­company remains and allows the resistance of an ethos and standards that still shape a professional world thought of as male.
    Abstract: Cet article montre, à partir de ­l'analyse de 40 entretiens de cadres supérieurs ­d'une entreprise européenne du secteur bancaire, que les modèles managériaux de la diversité et de la performance et les pratiques informelles de gestion des carrières entretiennent les discriminations sexuées. Ainsi, malgré les nombreuses mesures mises en place, la ­culture patriarcale de ­l'entreprise demeure et permet la résistance ­d'un ethos et de normes qui dessinent toujours un monde professionnel pensé au masculin.
    Keywords: Top management, Resistances, Gender, Glass ceilling, Professional equality, Genre, Plafond de verre, Egalité professionnelle, Résistances
    Date: 2021–12–08

This nep-hrm issue is ©2023 by Patrick Kampkötter. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.