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Personnel Economics: An Economic Approach to Human Resources Management

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  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

The theoretical idea of personnel economics is to apply simple economic principles to the field of human resources management. Personnel economics as a research field has grown rapidly since the first text book on ?Personnel Economics? was published in 1998. The development is driven by new theoretical insights based on institutional and behavioural economics and new empirical methods and data sets. Those new theoretical insights are very fruitful to analyze reasons and consequences of various human resource management practices, to understand what actually drives and motivates employees, and what causes organisations to be successful or to fail. With the new data sets and econometric methods the theories that have been laid out in personnel economics either many years ago or very recently can now be tested thoroughly. And the evidence produced by the new data and methods is strongly supportive, which is not only reassuring for researchers, but it also suggests that practitioners can actually rely on the ideas because they are born out in the data. So, personnel economics is not only a vivid research field, but also of great value for human resource managers, particularly for those taking strategic HR decisions. The fruitfulness of personnel economics is demonstrated with four examples: training strategies of companies, recruiting in tight labour markets, career incentives, team size and effort, and entrepreneurial signalling towards employees and creditors.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/ISU_WPS/50_ISU_full.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2004
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Working Papers with number 0050.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision: Apr 2004
Publication status: Published in Management Revue, April 2004, pages 215-227
Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0050

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Related research

Keywords: Personnel Economics; Strategic Human Resource Management; Training Strategies; Hiring; Career Incentives; Effort in Teams; Entrepreneurial Signalling;

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  1. Armendariz de Aghion, Beatriz, 1999. "On the design of a credit agreement with peer monitoring," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 79-104, October.
  2. Brent Boning & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2007. "Opportunity Counts: Teams and the Effectiveness of Production Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 613-650.
  3. Barron, John M & Gjerde, Kathy Paulson, 1997. "Peer Pressure in an Agency Relationship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 234-54, April.
  4. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  5. Coupé, Tom & Smeets, Valerie & Warzynski, Frederic, 2003. "Incentives in Economic Departments: Testing Tournaments?," Working Papers 03-25, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  6. David Austen-Smith, 2002. "Peer Pressure and Job Market Signaling," Discussion Papers 1352, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Jonathan Levin & Steven Tadelis, 2005. "Profit Sharing and the Role of Professional Partnerships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 131-171, January.
  8. Finegold, David & Soskice, David, 1988. "The Failure of Training in Britain: Analysis and Prescription," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(3), pages 21-53, Autumn.
  9. Holzer, Harry J, 1994. "Job Vacancy Rates in the Firm: An Empirical Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(241), pages 17-36, February.
  10. Sharon M. Oster & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Aging And Productivity Among Economists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 154-156, February.
  11. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2003. "Beyond Incentive Pay: Insiders' Estimates of the Value of Complementary Human Resource Management Practices," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 155-180, Winter.
  12. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Arndt Werner, 2003. "Entrepreneurial Signaling: Success Factors for Innovative Start-Ups," Working Papers 0055, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Mar 2004.
  13. S.J. Prais, 1981. "Vocational Qualifications of the Labour Force in Britain and Germany," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 98(1), pages 47-59, November.
  14. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
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