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Hiring and Escalation Bias in Subjective Performance Evaluations: A Laboratory Experiment

  • Andrej Angelovski

    (Department of Business Economics,Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

  • Jordi Brandts

    (Department of Business Economics,Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
    Barcelona GSE)

  • Carles Sola

    (Department of Business Economics,Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)

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    In many organizations the measurement of job performance can not 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 we find escalation bias both by managers and by co-employees. Managers exhibit a positive bias towards those employees they have hired or a negative one towards those they have explicitly not hired. 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.

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    File Function: First version, 2014
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    Paper provided by BELIS, Istanbul Bilgi University in its series BELIS Working Papers with number 2014-02.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:beb:wpbels:201402
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    1. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    2. Christine Harbring & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2011. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 611-627, April.
    3. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
    4. Mark Granovetter, 2005. "The Impact of Social Structure on Economic Outcomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 33-50, Winter.
    5. Brandts, Jordi & Solà, Carles, 2010. "Personal relations and their effect on behavior in an organizational setting: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 246-253, February.
    6. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert, 1993. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 355-365, April.
    7. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    8. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:3:p:797-817 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    10. Daniel C. Feiler & Jordan D. Tong & Richard P. Larrick, 2013. "Biased Judgment in Censored Environments," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(3), pages 573-591, January.
    11. Canice Prendergast & Robert H. Topel, 1993. "Favoritism in Organizations," NBER Working Papers 4427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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