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Towards a Theory of Work Intensity

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  • David Fairris

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    (Department of Economics, University of California, Riverside)

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    Abstract

    There is a conflict of interest between workers and firms over the intensity of labor effort. The labor market may fail, or simply be too costly, as a mechanism for resolving this conflict, and so nonmarket allocative mechanisms embedded in the institutional arrangements of shopfloor governance serve this purpose. Future research should focus on worker voice mechanisms and the behavior of supervisors and informal work groups in order better to understand labor effort outcomes. Which sorts of institutional arrangements result in efficient labor effort also requires further research. Evidence suggests that existing institutional arrangements may be neither the most efficient possible or even efficiency enhancing compared to formerly existing arrangements.

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    File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume30/V30N4P587_601.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 30 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 587-601

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    Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:30:y:2004:i:4:p:587-601

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Francis Green, 2002. "Why Has Work Effort Become More Intense?," Studies in Economics 0207, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
    2. Fairris, D. & Alston, L.J., 1992. ""Wages and the Intensity of Labor Effort: Efficiency Wages Versus Compensating Payments"," The A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management 92-43, The A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management. University of California Riverside.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1994. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Working Papers 4918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
    5. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
    6. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
    7. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
    8. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
    9. Dickens, William T, 1984. "Differences between Risk Premiums in Union and Nonunion Wages and the Case for Occupational Safety Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 320-23, May.
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