Worker sorting, work discipline and development

c. NYU Stern BHR/Flickr

c. NYU Stern BHR/Flickr

Sharon Buteau, Institute for Financial Management and Research

Start: Sep 2014  |  End: Jul 2017

Project webpage
Research Councils UK project page

This project aims to better understand why large formal firms are typically more productive than small informal firms. The methodology allows the productivity-enhancing role of the discipline and management systems in place in large-scale formal work environments to be separated from the selection of high effort and high ability employees into these stricter work environments.

This experiment consists of randomising workers into different work settings to eliminate the selection bias. In addition to the office versus home treatment and control groups seen in other studies, another randomly selected group of workers will choose their work setting of preference. Comparing the first two groups, the project can evaluate, independent of characteristics, whether office-based work induces higher levels of worker productivity and/or faster increases in worker productivity.

We expect the long-term beneficiaries of the research outcome to be the underemployed, low skilled population, including a significant number of women. It is this group who could potentially increase their livelihoods if policymakers could design better industrial policies to generate a larger number of employment opportunities for this group. In addition, by understanding better the characteristics of employees and their productivity, this research aims to aid human resources and management decisions at the firm-level and better tailor jobs to specific segments of the population.