Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2010

Abstract

A fundamental problem faced by employers is how to elicit effort from employees. Most economic models suggest that employers meet this challenge by monitoring employees carefully to prevent shirking. But there is another option that relies on heterogeneity across employees, and that is to screen job candidates to find workers with a stronger work ethic who require less monitoring. We might therefore expect employers who screen candidates more intensively to monitor them less. Using data from a national sample of US employers, we find that employers who screen applicants more intensively for factors that should predict work ethic also monitor employees less and also make greater use of systems such as teamwork where monitoring by supervisors is more difficult. This screening is also associated with higher wages, higher employee productivity, and lower involuntary turnover rates. Screening for other attributes, such as work experiences and academic performance, does not produce these results.

Keywords

Employee Screening, Monitoring, Work Ethic, High Performance Work Practices, Principal-Agent Model.

Discipline

Asian Studies | Behavioral Economics | Labor Economics

Research Areas

Applied Microeconomics

Publication

American Economic Review

Volume

100

Issue

2

First Page

214

Last Page

218

ISSN

0002-8282

Identifier

10.1257/aer.100.2.214

Publisher

American Economic Association

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/aer.100.2.214

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