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On-the-Job Leisure as a Cause of Asymmetric Observed Effort Distributions

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David L. Dickinson Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: When employers observe imperfect measures of worker effort, theorists typically assume that observed effort is unimodal and symmetrically distributed. Though observable effort may be distributed in different ways within a work day, for example, available field data on these effort distributions are rare. The symmetry assumption is largely untestable as a result. This paper presents empirical data from two experimental work environments that question the validity of such assumptions. For these piece-rate work environments the author finds that observed effort is significantly negatively-skew (i.e., modal>mean effort). The author’s hypothesis is that on-the-job leisure causes this skewness in observed effort distributions. There are both theoretical and practical implications of this asymmetry. Some implications from the theoretical agency literature that we discuss include: self-selection into rank-order tournaments, optimal wage spreads in rank-order tournaments, and optimal wage contracts with asymmetric information.

Additional Information

Publication
Dickinson, David L. (2006). On-the-Job Leisure as a Cause of Asymmetric Observed Effort Distributions. Managerial and Decision Economics, Special Issue: Experimental Economics, 27(6): 435-44. (ISSN: 1099-1468) DOI: 10.1002/mde.1280 Published by Wiley-Blackwell (September 2006). The definitive version is available at www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com.
Language: English
Date: 2006