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Hiring and escalation bias in subjective performance evaluations: A laboratory experiment

Author

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  • Angelovski, Andrej
  • Brandts, Jordi
  • Sola, Carles

Abstract

In many organizations the measurement of job performance cannot rely on easily quantifiable information. In such cases, supervising managers often use subjective performance evaluations. We use laboratory experiments to study whether the way employees are assigned to a manager affects managers’ and co-employees’ subjective evaluations of employees. Employees can either be hired by the manager, explicitly not hired by him and nevertheless assigned to him or exogenously assigned to him. We present data from three different treatments. For all three treatments we find escalation bias by managers. Managers exhibit a positive bias towards those employees they have hired or a negative one towards those they have explicitly not hired. For three treatments we find that managers’ and employees’ biases are connected. Exogenously assigned employees are biased in favor of employees hired by the manager and against those explicitly not hired.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelovski, Andrej & Brandts, Jordi & Sola, Carles, 2016. "Hiring and escalation bias in subjective performance evaluations: A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 114-129.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:121:y:2016:i:c:p:114-129
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.10.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Escalation bias; Hiring; Performance evaluations; Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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