Labor Economics, Experimental and Behavioral Economics, Applied Microeconometrics, Social Preferences
“Worker Discretion and Performance: Evidence from a Real-Effort Experiment”
Worker discretion is a crucial factor for productivity and optimal job design. The present research manipulates in a real-effort experiment both the degree and the type of flexibility that individuals have in completing a series of multiple tasks, and it examines their consequences on final performance. The experiment varies by treatments, the extent to which subjects can decide over the task-ordering or the time allocation, and it compares the results with the baseline case where individuals have full flexibility on both dimensions. Results are interpreted using mouse-clicking data. These data show that a substantial share of workers engages in costly multitasking and does not recognize “time-wasting” tasks. The evidence on the treatment effects suggests that, by restricting individual task-ordering or time allocation decisions, it is possible to improve the achievement of specific types of workers significantly and also to identify who are the individuals who benefit the most from having full flexibility. Overall, this paper provides new and robust evidence on the limitations of workers’ self-regulation, and it identifies job design interventions which are effective in increasing final performance.
“A Tale of Two Cities: an Experiment on Inequality and Cooperation” (joint with Maria Bigoni and Stefania Bortolotti)
In an online experiment, we exploit the existing disparities in socio-economic status within an Italian city, to study how these differences correlate with preferences in strategic and non-strategic situations. Our findings indicate that participants living in an area characterized by a high socio-economic environment tend to trust more and are more inclined to reciprocate higher levels of trust, as compared to those coming from less wealthy neighborhoods. This behavioral difference is, at least in part, driven by heterogeneities in beliefs: subjects from the most affluent part of the city have more optimistic expectations on their counterpart’s trustworthiness than those living in a lower socio-economic environment. By contrast, no significant differences emerge in other preferences: generosity, risk-attitudes, and time preferences. Finally, we do not find any systematic evidence of out-group discrimination based on neighborhood identity.
Scholarships and other types of monetary incentives decrease the costs of acquiring additional education. The first contribution of this work is to study how such liquidity provision affects the academic achievement of students beyond enrollment and their labor market outcomes after graduation. In this work, I use administrative data to exploit the assignment of different levels of monetary incentives - from full scholarships to small tuition fee discounts - to students positioned in a wide range of the social ladder (from low-income to high-income families). Using a Regression Discontinuity Design, I show that the performances of students whose cost of education is fully subsidized are lower than the achievement of those who pay some of their education cost. Given that this difference in performance persists until the final year of college, I observe a gap in the graduation time. The additional contribution of this project is, therefore, to look at the difference in labor market outcomes between subsidized and unsubsidized students.