NBER Working Papers by Elizabeth Lyons

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Working Papers

August 2016A Time to Make Laws and a Time to Fundraise? On the Relation between Salaries and Time Use for State Politicians
with Mitchell Hoffman: w22571
Paying higher salaries is often believed to enhance worker effort, leading workers to work harder to avoid getting fired. However, workers may also respond to higher salaries by focusing on tasks that most directly affect getting fired (as opposed to those that contribute most to productivity). We explore these issues by analyzing the relationship between the level of compensation and time use for US state legislators. Using data on time use and legislator salaries, we show that higher salary is associated with legislators spending more time on fundraising. In contrast, higher salary is also associated with less time spent on legislative activities and has no clear relation to time spent on constituent services. Subgroup analysis broadly supports our interpretation of the data.
October 2013Digitization and the Contract Labor Market: A Research Agenda
with Ajay Agrawal, John Horton, Nicola Lacetera: w19525
Online contract labor globalizes traditionally local labor markets, with platforms that enable employers, most of whom are in high-income countries, to more easily outsource tasks to contractors, primarily located in low-income countries. This market is growing rapidly; we provide descriptive statistics from one of the leading platforms where the number of hours worked increased 55% from 2011 to 2012, with the 2012 total wage bill just over $360 million. We outline three lines of inquiry in this market setting that are central to the broader digitization research agenda: 1) How will the digitization of this market influence the distribution of economic activity (geographic distribution of work, income distribution, distribution of work across firm boundaries)?; 2) What is the magnitude and...

Published: Digitization and the Contract Labor Market: A Research Agenda, Ajay Agrawal, John Horton, Nicola Lacetera, Elizabeth Lyons. in Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, Goldfarb, Greenstein, and Tucker. 2015

January 2013Does Information Help or Hinder Job Applicants from Less Developed Countries in Online Markets?
with Ajay K. Agrawal, Nicola Lacetera: w18720
Online markets reduce certain transaction costs related to global outsourcing. We focus on the role of verified work experience information in affecting online hiring decisions. Prior research shows that additional information about job applicants may disproportionately help or hinder disadvantaged populations. Using data from a major online contract labor platform, we find that contractors from less developed countries (LDCs) are disadvantaged relative to those from developed countries (DCs) in terms of their likelihood of being hired. However, we also find that although verified experience information increases the likelihood of being hired for all applicants, this effect is disproportionately large for LDC contractors. The LDC experience premium applies to other outcomes as well (wage b...

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