nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2023‒04‒10
eight papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Overexertion of Effort under Working Time Autonomy and Feedback Provision By Thomas Dohmen; Elena Shvartsman
  2. Robots and Workers: Evidence from the Netherlands By Acemoglu, Daron; Koster, Hans R.A.; Ozgen, Ceren
  3. Retrieving the Returns to Experience, Tenure, and Job Mobility from Work Histories By John T. Addison; Pedro Portugal; Pedro Raposo
  4. Incentive and Signaling Effects of Bonus Payments: An Experiment in a Company By Marvin Deversi; Lisa Spantig
  5. Changing Tracks: Human Capital Investment after Loss of Ability By Humlum, Anders; Munch, Jakob R.; Plato, Pernille
  6. Subjective Earnings Risk By Andrew Caplin; Victoria Gregory; Eungik Lee; Søren Leth-Petersen; Johan Sæverud
  7. Monitoring Harassment in Organizations By Laura E. Boudreau; Sylvain Chassang; Ada Gonzalez-Torres; Rachel M. Heath
  8. Accounting for Individual-Specific Reliability of Self-Assessed Measures of Economic Preferences and Personality Traits By Thomas Dohmen; Tomáš Jagelka

  1. By: Thomas Dohmen (Institute for Applied Microeconomics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24-42, 53113 Bonn, Germany); Elena Shvartsman (WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Burgplatz 2, 56179 Vallendar, Germany)
    Abstract: Working time autonomy is often accompanied by output-based incentives to counterbalance the loss of monitoring that comes with granting autonomy. However, in such settings, overprovision of effort could arise if workers are uncertain whether their performance suffices to secure the output-based rewards. Performance feedback can reduce or eliminate such uncertainty. We develop an experiment to show that overprovision of costly effort is more likely to occur in work environments with working time autonomy in the absence of feedback. A key feature of our design is that it allows for a clean measurement of effort overprovision by keeping performance per unit of time fixed, which we achieve by calibrating subjects’ productivity on a real effort task ex ante. This novel design can serve as a workhorse for various experiments as it allows for exogenous variation of performance certainty (i.e., by providing feedback), working time autonomy, productivity, effort costs, and the general incentive structure. We find that subjects provide significantly more costly effort beyond a level necessary to meet their performance targets in the presence of uncertainty, i.e., the absence of feedback, which suggests that feedback shields workers from overprovision of costly effort.
    Keywords: working time autonomy, performance uncertainty, feedback provision, incentives, effort, subjective stress
    JEL: C91 D90 I10 J81
    Date: 2023–03
  2. By: Acemoglu, Daron (MIT); Koster, Hans R.A. (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Ozgen, Ceren (University of Birmingham)
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of robot adoption on firm-level and worker-level outcomes in the Netherlands using a large employer-employee panel dataset spanning 2009-2020. Our firm-level results confirm previous findings, with positive effects on value added and hours worked for robot-adopting firms and negative outcomes on competitors in the same industry. Our worker-level results show that directly-affected workers (e.g., bluecollar workers performing routine or replaceable tasks) face lower earnings and employment rates, while other workers indirectly gain from robot adoption. We also find that the negative effects from competitors' robot adoption load on directly-affected workers, while other workers benefit from this industry-level robot adoption. Overall, our results highlight the uneven effects of automation on the workforce.
    Keywords: robots, workers, technology, productivity, the Netherlands
    JEL: D63 E22 E23 E24 J24 O33
    Date: 2023–03
  3. By: John T. Addison; Pedro Portugal; Pedro Raposo
    Abstract: Using a unique Portuguese linked employer-employee dataset, this paper offers an extension of the standard Mincerian model of wage determination by allowing for different returns to experience and tenure over the sequence of jobs that constitute a career. We also consider the possibility of distinct wage hikes each time workers change jobs, where such uplifts reflect the returns to job search investments over the life cycle and shape the curvature of the earnings profile. We further investigate how worker, firm, and job match heterogeneity influence the returns to mobility, experience, and tenure. The returns to job mobility are found to reflect sorting into better job matches. Moreover, the estimated returns to experience are upwardly biased because more productive workers tend to be more experienced.
    Keywords: returns to tenure, returns to experience, job mobility, high-dimensional fixed effects, job match fixed effect, job match quality effect
    JEL: J31 J63
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Marvin Deversi; Lisa Spantig
    Abstract: Economists and management scholars have argued that the scope of incentives to increase cooperation in organizations is limited as their use signals the prevalence of free-riding among employees. This paper tests this hypothesis experimentally, using a sample of managers and employees from a large company. We exogenously vary whether managers are informed about prevailing cooperation levels among employees before they can set incentives to promote cooperation. In addition, employees matched to informed managers learn that the manager could base their incentive choice on cooperation levels. We find no evidence for the hypothesized signaling effect. Having an informed manager set the incentive does not change employees’ be-liefs about the cooperativeness of others. Incentives hence have strong positive effects on cooperative beliefs, irrespective of information. The absence of the signaling effect seems related to the perception of managers’ intentions, a mitigating but understudied factor.
    Keywords: cooperation, incentives, signalling, crowding out, experiment
    JEL: C91 D83 D91 D01
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Humlum, Anders (University of Chicago Booth School of Business); Munch, Jakob R. (University of Copenhagen); Plato, Pernille (University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We provide the first evidence on how workers invest in human capital after losing ability. Using quasi-random work accidents in Danish administrative data, we find that workers enroll in bachelor's programs after physical injuries, pursuing degrees that build on their work experiences and provide pathways to cognitive occupations. Exploiting differences in eligibility driven by prior vocational training, we find that higher education moves injured workers from disability benefits to full-time employment. Reskilled workers earn 25% more than before their injuries and do not end up on antidepressants. Without higher education, by contrast, these workers end up entirely on disability benefits and often resort to taking antidepressants. Reskilling subsidies for injured workers pay for themselves four times over, and current rates of reskilling are substantially below the social optimum, especially for middle-aged workers.
    Keywords: workplace injury, human capital investment, employment, disability insurance
    JEL: I26 J24 J62
    Date: 2023–03
  6. By: Andrew Caplin; Victoria Gregory; Eungik Lee; Søren Leth-Petersen; Johan Sæverud
    Abstract: Earnings risk is central to economic analysis. While this risk is essentially subjective, it is typically inferred from administrative data. Following the lead of Dominitz and Manski, 1997, we introduce a survey instrument to measure subjective earnings risk. We pay particular attention to the expected impact of job transitions on earnings. A link with administrative data provides multiple credibility checks. It also shows subjective earnings risk to be far lower than its administratively-estimated counterpart. This divergence arises because expected earnings growth is heterogeneous, even within narrow demographic and earnings cells. We calibrate a life-cycle model of search and matching to administrative data and compare the model-implied expectations with our survey instrument. This calibration produces far higher estimates of individual earnings risk than do our subjective expectations, regardless of age, earnings, and whether or not workers switch jobs. This divergence highlights the need for survey-based measures of subjective earnings risk.
    JEL: J30
    Date: 2023–03
  7. By: Laura E. Boudreau; Sylvain Chassang; Ada Gonzalez-Torres; Rachel M. Heath
    Abstract: We evaluate secure survey methods designed for the ongoing monitoring of harassment in organizations. We use the resulting data to answer policy relevant questions about the nature of harassment: How prevalent is it? What share of managers is responsible for the misbehavior? How isolated are its victims? To do so, we partner with a large Bangladeshi garment manufacturer to experiment with different designs of phone-based worker surveys. Garbling responses to sensitive questions by automatically recording a random subset as complaints increases reporting of physical harassment by 288%, sexual harassment by 269%, and threatening behavior by 46%. A rapport-building treatment has an insignificant aggregate effect, but may affect men and women differently. Removing team identifiers from survey responses does not significantly increase reporting and prevents the computation of policy-relevant team-level statistics. The resulting data shows that harassment is widespread, that the problem is not restricted to a minority of managers, and that victims are often isolated in teams.
    JEL: C42 D82 J70 J71 J81 J83 M54
    Date: 2023–03
  8. By: Thomas Dohmen (University of Bonn, IZA Institute of Labor Economics, and University of Maastricht); Tomáš Jagelka (ECONtribute Cluster of Excellence, IZA, Institute for Applied Microeconomics at the University of Bonn, and CREST)
    Abstract: Measures based on self-assessments, which are increasingly important in empirical economic research, are plagued by measurement error. This paper presents the first attempt at measuring both revealed and self-reported reliability of individuals’ answers on self-reports of latent characteristics. We show that measurement error on self-reports relevant to economists is heterogeneous across individuals and can be reasonably approximated by a distribution with two unobserved types. We propose a straightforward survey question which allows to distinguish individuals who give highly reliable answers from those who do not, using cross-sectional data. We demonstrate that it predicts revealed individual reliability over and above all measured characteristics, survey conditions, and experimental treatments. We show how our simple self-reported reliability measure can be used to cost-effectively reduce attenuation bias in estimates of cognitive and non-cognitive determinants of high school GPA, college graduation, unemployment, and life satisfaction. Without requiring panel data, the achieved correction is similar to some of the most effective reduced-form theory-based approaches in the existing literature. Finally, we clarify the role of effort and self-knowledge in generating measurement error and propose a simple model which rationalizes our findings.
    Keywords: Reliability, measurement error, personality traits, economic preferences, self-assessments
    JEL: D90 C83 C81
    Date: 2023–03

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