Screening, Competition, and Job Design: Economic Origins of Good Jobs

41 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2010 Last revised: 10 Mar 2011

See all articles by Björn Bartling

Björn Bartling

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Ernst Fehr

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Klaus M. Schmidt

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: March 9, 2011

Abstract

High-performance work systems give workers more discretion, thereby increasing effort productivity but also shirking opportunities. We show experimentally that screening for work attitude and labor market competition are causal determinants of the viability of high-performance work systems, and we identify the complementarities between discretion, rent-sharing, and screening that render them profitable. Two fundamentally distinct job designs emerge endogenously in our experiments: “bad” jobs with low discretion, low wages, and little rent-sharing and “good” jobs with high discretion, high wages, and substantial rent-sharing. Good jobs are profitable only if employees can be screened, and labor market competition fosters their dissemination.

Keywords: job design, high-performance work systems, screening, competition, work attitude, reputation, trust, control, complementarities

JEL Classification: C91, D86, M50

Suggested Citation

Bartling, Björn and Fehr, Ernst and Schmidt, Klaus M., Screening, Competition, and Job Design: Economic Origins of Good Jobs (March 9, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1537196 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1537196

Björn Bartling

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5035 Bergen
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Ernst Fehr

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Blümlisalpstrasse 10
Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland
+41 1 634 3709 (Phone)
+41 1 634 4907 (Fax)

Klaus M. Schmidt (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany
+49 89 2180 3405 (Phone)
+49 89 2180 3510 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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