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Do Workers Value Flexible Jobs? A Field Experiment on Compensating Differentials

Haoran He, David Neumark, Qian Weng

NBER Working Paper No. 25423
Issued in January 2019
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

We explore compensating differentials for job flexibility, using a field experiment conducted on a Chinese job board. Our job ads differ randomly regarding when one works (time flexibility) and where one works (place flexibility). We find strong evidence that workers value job flexibility – especially regarding place of work. Application rates are higher to flexible jobs, conditional on the salary offered. Additional survey evidence indicates that workers are willing to take lower pay for more flexible jobs. Non-experimental job board data do not indicate that workers value job flexibility, reinforcing the difficulty of estimating compensating differentials from observational data.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25423

 
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