Department of Economics
Clayton, Vic 3800
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|June 2016||The Effects of Wage Contracts on Workplace Misbehaviors: Evidence from a Call Center Natural Field Experiment|
with Jeffrey A. Flory, John A. List: w22342
Workplace misbehaviors are often governed by explicit monitoring and strict punishment. Such enforcement activities can serve to lessen worker productivity and harm worker morale. We take a different approach to curbing worker misbehavior—bonuses. Examining more than 6500 donor phone calls across more than 80 workers, we use a natural field experiment to investigate how different wage contracts influence workers’ propensity to cheat and sabotage one another. Our findings show that even though standard relative performance pay contracts, relative to a fixed wage scheme, increase productivity, they have a dark side: they cause considerable cheating and sabotage of co-workers. Yet, even in such environments, by including an unexpected bonus, the employer can substantially curb worker misbehav...
|June 2014||Ode to the sea: Workplace Organizations and Norms of Cooperation|
with Uri Gneezy, John A. List: w20234
The functioning and well-being of any society and organization critically hinges on norms of cooperation that regulate social activities. Empirical evidence on how such norms emerge and in which environments they thrive remains a clear void in the literature. To provide an initial set of insights, we overlay a set of field experiments in a natural setting. Our approach is to compare behavior in Brazilian fishermen societies that differ along one major dimension: the workplace organization. In one society (located by the sea) fishermen are forced to work in groups whereas in the adjacent society (located on a lake) fishing is inherently an individual activity. We report sharp evidence that the sea fishermen trust and cooperate more and have greater ability to coordinate group actions t...
Published: Uri Gneezy & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2015. "Ode to the Sea: Workplace Organizations and Norms of Cooperation," The Economic Journal, , pages n/a-n/a. citation courtesy of
|November 2012||Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment|
with John A. List: w18511
One explanation advanced for the persistent gender pay differences in labor markets is that women avoid salary negotiations. By using a natural field experiment that randomizes nearly 2,500 job-seekers into jobs that vary important details of the labor contract, we are able to observe both the nature of sorting and the extent of salary negotiations. We observe interesting data patterns. For example, we find that when there is no explicit statement that wages are negotiable, men are more likely to negotiate than women. However, when we explicitly mention the possibility that wages are negotiable, this difference disappears, and even tends to reverse. In terms of sorting, we find that men in contrast to women prefer job environments where the 'rules of wage determination' are ambiguous. This...
Published: Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2015. "Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," Management Science, vol 61(9), pages 2016-2024. citation courtesy of
|November 2010||Do Competitive Work Places Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Gender Differences in Job-Entry Decisions|
with Jeffrey A. Flory, John A. List: w16546
Recently an important line of research using laboratory experiments has provided a new potential reason for why we observe gender imbalances in labor markets: men are more competitively inclined than women. Whether, and to what extent, such preferences yield differences in naturally-occurring labor market outcomes remains an open issue. We address this question by exploring job-entry decisions in a natural field experiment where we randomized nearly 7,000 interested job-seekers into different compensation regimes. By varying the role that individual competition plays in setting the wage, we are able to explore whether competition, by itself, can cause differential job entry. The data highlight the power of the compensation regime in that women disproportionately shy away from competitive w...
Published: Do Competitive Workplaces Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Job-Entry Decisions Jeffrey A. Flory Claremont McKenna College Andreas Leibbrandt Monash University John A. List