NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Greer K. Gosnell

London School of Economics
and Political Science

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: London School of Economics

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2019The Impact of Management Practices on Employee Productivity: A Field Experiment with Airline Captains
with John A. List, Robert D. Metcalfe: w25620
Increasing evidence indicates the importance of management in determining firms’ productivity. Yet, causal evidence regarding the effectiveness of management practices is scarce, especially for high-skilled workers in the developed world. In an eight-month field experiment measuring the productivity of captains in the commercial aviation sector, we test four distinct management practices: (i) performance monitoring; (ii) performance feedback; (iii) target setting; and (iv) pro-social incentives. We find that these management practices—particularly performance monitoring and target setting—significantly increase captains’ productivity with respect to the targeted fuel-saving dimensions. We identify positive spillovers of the tested management practices on job satisfaction and carbon dioxide...
June 2016A New Approach to an Age-Old Problem: Solving Externalities by Incenting Workers Directly
with John A. List, Robert Metcalfe: w22316
Understanding motivations in the workplace remains of utmost import as economies around the world rely on increases in labor productivity to foster sustainable economic growth. This study makes use of a unique opportunity to “look under the hood” of an organization that critically relies on worker effort and performance. By partnering with Virgin Atlantic Airways on a field experiment that includes over 40,000 unique flights covering an eight-month period, we explore how information and incentives affect captains’ performance. Making use of more than 110,000 captain-level observations, we find that our set of treatments—which include performance information, personal targets, and prosocial incentives—induces captains to improve efficiency in all three key flight areas: pre-flight, in-fligh...
 
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