Does Culture Pay? Evidence from Crowdsourced Employee Engagement Data
67 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2017 Last revised: 16 Mar 2018
Date Written: February 28, 2018
Corporate culture is an increasingly important mechanism for retaining and motivating employees. Using a new survey tool in partnership with PayScale.com between 2014 and 2016, I first document dispersion in job satisfaction and corporate culture in the labor market, and, secondly, recover a willingness to pay for these amenities. A value-weighted portfolio of companies with high levels of corporate culture earns a monthly four-factor alpha of 1.5%. To understand the source of these abnormal returns, I estimate employees' willingness to pay for corporate culture. Exploiting variation in the outside option that employees face as a source of quasi-experimental variation, I find that employees are willing to give up 4% of their annual earnings, or $2,680 per year, for a standard deviation increase in corporate culture. Higher skilled workers exhibit a greater willingness to pay for culture.
Keywords: Organizational practices, job satisfaction, turnover, compensating differentials, productivity
JEL Classification: L20, M51, M52, M54, M55
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