nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2023‒12‒04
ten papers chosen by
Patrick Kampkötter, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

  1. Pay, productivity and management By Nicholas Bloom; Scott W. Ohlmacher; Cristina J. Tello-Trillo; Melanie Wallskog
  2. Implicit contracts, incentive compatibility, and involuntary unemployment: thirty years on By W. Bentley MacLeod; James Malcomson
  3. Demand for Personality Traits, Tasks, and Sorting By Brenčič, Vera; McGee, Andrew
  4. Matching through Search Channels By Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos; Kaas, Leo; Lochner, Benjamin
  5. Firm Concentration & Job Design: The Case of Schedule Flexible Work Arrangements By Abi Adams-Prassl; Maria Balgova; Matthias Qian; Tom Waters
  6. So, dear applicant, do you mean working from home or shirking from home? By Eline Moens; Elsy Verhofstadt; Luc Van Ootegem; Stijn Baert
  7. The effects of commuting and working from home arrangements on mental health By Ferdi Botha; Jan Kabátek; Jordy Meekes; Roger Wilkins
  8. Career Concerns As Public Good: The Role of Signaling for Open Source Software Development By Lena Abou El-Komboz; Moritz Goldbeck
  9. The Persistent Effect of Competition on Prosociality By Fabian Kosse; Ranjita Rajan; Michela Tincani
  10. How does working from home during COVID-19 affect what managers do? Evidence from time-use studies By Andrew L. Kun; Raffaella Sadun; Orit Shaer; Thomaz Teodorovicz

  1. By: Nicholas Bloom; Scott W. Ohlmacher; Cristina J. Tello-Trillo; Melanie Wallskog
    Abstract: Using confidential Census matched employer-employee earnings data we find that employees at more productive firms, and firms with more structured management practices, have substantially higher pay, both on average and across every percentile of the pay distribution. This pay-performance relationship is particularly strong amongst higher paid employees, with a doubling of firm productivity associated with 11% more pay for the highest-paid employee (likely the CEO) compared to 4.7% for the median worker. This pay-performance link holds in public and private firms, although it is almost twice as strong in public firms for the highest-paid employees. Top pay volatility is also strongly related to productivity and structured management, suggesting this performance-pay relationship arises from more aggressive monitoring and incentive practices for top earners.
    Keywords: productivity, management, employer-employee earnings, pay-performance
    Date: 2022–04–04
  2. By: W. Bentley MacLeod; James Malcomson
    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.
    Date: 2023–01–26
  3. By: Brenčič, Vera (University of Alberta); McGee, Andrew (University of Alberta)
    Abstract: In job ads, employers express demand for personality traits when seeking workers to perform tasks that can be completed with different behaviors (e.g., communication, problem-solving) but not when seeking workers to perform tasks involving narrowly prescribed sets of behaviors such as routine and mathematics tasks. For many tasks, employers appear to demand narrower personality traits than those measured at the Big Five factor level. The job ads also exhibit substantial heterogeneity within occupations in the tasks mentioned. Workers may thus sort based on personality-derived comparative advantages in tasks into jobs rather than occupations. In the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, we confirm that personality sorting based on tasks occurs at both the occupation and job levels. In this sample, however, there is little evidence of task-specific wage returns to personality traits, which would influence the supply of traits to jobs with particular tasks. This may explain why personality sorting based on tasks in the sample is very limited in spite of the correlations between tasks and employers' demands for traits.
    Keywords: personality, tasks, sorting, job ads, employer demand
    JEL: D22 J23 J24 J33 M51
    Date: 2023–11
  4. By: Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos (University of Essex); Kaas, Leo (Goethe University Frankfurt); Lochner, Benjamin (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
    Abstract: Firms and workers predominately match via job postings, networks of personal contacts or the public employment agency, all of which help to ameliorate labor market frictions. In this paper we investigate the extent to which these search channels have differential effects on labor market outcomes. Using novel linked survey-administrative data we document that (i) low-wage firms and low-wage workers are more likely to match via networks or the public agency, while high-wage firms and high-wage workers succeed more often via job postings; (ii) job postings help firms the most in poaching and attracting high-wage workers and help workers the most in climbing the job ladder. To evaluate the implications of these findings for employment, wages and labor market sorting, we structurally estimate an equilibrium job ladder model featuring two-sided heterogeneity, multiple search channels and endogenous recruitment effort. The estimation reveals that networks are the most cost-effective channel, allowing firms to hire quickly, yet attracting workers of lower average ability. Job postings are the most costly channel, facilitate hiring workers of higher ability, and matter most for worker-firm sorting. Although the public employment agency provides the lowest hiring probability, its removal has sizeable consequences, with aggregate employment declining by at least 1.4 percent and rising bottom wage inequality.
    Keywords: search channels, on-the-job search, recruitment effort, sorting, wage dispersion
    JEL: E24 J23 J31 J63 J64
    Date: 2023–11
  5. By: Abi Adams-Prassl; Maria Balgova; Matthias Qian; Tom Waters
    Abstract: We build a model of job design under monopsony that yields predictions over the relationship between: (i) the amenity value of non-wage job features; (ii) whether they are costly or profitable to firms; (iii) monopsony power. We analyse the amenity value of schedule flexibility offered in the labour market by combining our model’s predictions with a new measure of schedule flexibility, which we construct from job vacancy text using a supervised machine learning approach. We show that the amenity value of schedule flexibility depends crucially on whether it is offered alongside a salaried contract that insures workers from earnings variation.
    Date: 2023–02–22
  6. By: Eline Moens; Elsy Verhofstadt; Luc Van Ootegem; Stijn Baert (-)
    Abstract: Many applicants want a job with the possibility of telework. However, the literature is unclear on whether being explicit about this wish and the reason for it leads to negative consequences on hiring intentions. In this paper we therefore investigate how expressing a desire for telework, for work-life balance and for productivity in particular, impacts the probability of receiving an interview and what it signals to recruiters. To this end, we set up a state-ofthe-art vignette experiment in which recruiters evaluate fictitious applicants for different jobs. As a result of this experimental set-up, the answers to our research questions can be interpreted causally, and external validity benefits from the heterogeneity of the jobs. We find that if the desire for work-life balance is the stated motivation, the preference is punished more severely than if the motivation is productivity. Compared to applicants who do not mention a preference for telework, recruiters are 5.1 percentage points less inclined to invite applicants who pronounce this desire for work-life balance to an interview and 2.1 percentage points less inclined to invite applicants for whom the motivation is productivity. Lastly, mentioning a telework preference for work-life balance has a clear negative effect on anticipated achievement striving, commitment, and availability.
    Keywords: telework, interview probability, factorial survey experiment
    JEL: M51 M54 J22 J32 J63 J81
    Date: 2023–11
  7. By: Ferdi Botha (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Jan Kabátek (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne); Jordy Meekes (Department of Economics, Leiden University, Netherlands); Roger Wilkins (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne)
    Abstract: In this study, we quantify the causal effects of commuting time and working from home (WFH) arrangements on the mental health of Australian men and women. Leveraging rich panel-data models, we first show that adverse effects of commuting time manifest only among men. These are concentrated among individuals with pre-existing mental health issues, and they are modest in magnitude. Second, we show that WFH arrangements have large positive effects on women’s mental health, provided that the WFH component is large enough. The effects are once again concentrated among individuals with pre-existing mental health issues. This effect specificity is novel and extends beyond Australia: we show that it also underlies the adverse effects of commuting time on the mental health of British women. Our findings highlight the importance of targeted interventions and support for individuals who are dealing with mental health problems.
    Keywords: mental health, commuting, working from home, unconditional quantile regression
    JEL: D1 I1 R41
    Date: 2023–11
  8. By: Lena Abou El-Komboz (ifo Institute); Moritz Goldbeck (ifo Institute)
    Abstract: Much of today’s software relies on programming code shared openly online. Yet, it is unclear why volunteer developers contribute to open-source software (OSS), a public good. We study OSS contributions of some 22, 900 developers worldwide on the largest online code repository platform, GitHub, and find evidence in favor of career concerns as a motivating factor to contribute. Our difference-in-differences model leverages time differences in incentives for labor market signaling across users to causally identify OSS activity driven by career concerns. We observe OSS activity of users who move for a job to be elevated by about 16% in the job search period compared to users who relocate for other reasons. This increase is mainly driven by contributions to projects that increase external visibility of existing works, are written in programming languages that are highly valued in the labor market, but have a lower direct use-value for the community. A sizable extensive margin shows signaling incentives motivate first-time OSS contributions. Our findings suggest that signaling incentives on private labor markets have sizable positive externalities through public good creation in open-source communities, but these contributions are targeted less to community needs and more to their signal value.
    Keywords: software; knowledge work; digital platforms; signaling; open source; job search;
    JEL: L17 L86 H40 J24 J30
    Date: 2023–11–15
  9. By: Fabian Kosse (LMU Munich); Ranjita Rajan (The Karta Initiative); Michela Tincani (University College London)
    Abstract: We present the first causal evidence on the persistent impact of enduring competition on prosociality. Inspired by the literature on tournaments within firms, which shows that competitive compensation schemes reduce cooperation in the short-run, we explore if enduring exposure to a competitive environment persistently attenuates prosociality. Based on a large-scale randomized intervention in the education context, we find lower levels of prosociality for students who just experienced a 2-year competition period. 4-year follow-up data indicate that the effect persists and generalizes, suggesting a change in traits and not only in behavior.
    Keywords: prosociality, competition, cooperation, social skills, socio-emotional skills, tournaments, comparative pay, incentive schemes
    JEL: D74 D91 J13 J24
    Date: 2023–11
  10. By: Andrew L. Kun; Raffaella Sadun; Orit Shaer; Thomaz Teodorovicz
    Abstract: We assess how the sudden and widespread shift to working from home during the pandemic impacted how managers allocate time throughout their working day. We analyze the results from an online time-use survey with data on 1, 192 knowledge workers (out of which 973 are managers) in two waves, a pre-pandemic wave collected in August/2019 (615 participants, out of which 506 are managers) and a post-pandemic wave collected in August/2020 (577 participants, out of which 464 are managers). Our findings indicate that the forced transition to WFH created by the COVID pandemic was associated with a drastic reduction in commuting time for managers, but also an increase in time spent in work rather than on personal activities. This included reallocating time gained from commuting into more time spent in meetings, possibly to recoup some of the extemporaneous interactions that typically happen in the office. This change is particularly pronounced for managers employed in larger organizations. We use the results from the time-use studies to discuss implications for the development of new technologies.
    Keywords: time-use, working-from-home, COVID, managers, knowledge workers
    Date: 2022–03–30

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