IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements


  • Alexandre Mas
  • Amanda Pallais


We use a field experiment to study how workers value alternative work arrangements. During the application process to staff a national call center we randomly offered applicants choices between traditional M-F 9am - 5pm office positions and alternatives. These alternatives include flexible scheduling, working from home, and positions that give the employer discretion over scheduling. We randomlyvaried the wage difference between the traditional option and the alternative, allowing us to estimate the entire distribution of willingness to pay (WTP) for these alternatives. We validate our results using a nationally-representative survey. The great majority of workers are not willing to pay for flexible scheduling relative to a traditional schedule: either the ability to choose the days and times of work or the number of hours they work. However, the average worker is willing to give up 20% of wages to avoid a schedule set by an employer on a week's notice. This largely represents workers' aversion to evening and weekend work, not scheduling unpredictability. Traditional M-F 9am - 5pm schedules are preferred by most jobseekers. Despite the fact that the average worker isn't willing to pay for scheduling flexibility, a tail of workers with high WTP allows for sizable compensating differentials. Of the workerfriendly options we test, workers are willing to pay the most (8% of wages) for the option of working from home. Women, particularly those with young children, have higher WTP for work from home and to avoid employer scheduling discretion. They are slightly more likely to be in jobs with these amenities, but the differences are not large enough to explain any wage gaps.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Mas & Amanda Pallais, 2016. "Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements," Natural Field Experiments 00573, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00573

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeffrey A. Flory & Andreas Leibbrandt & John A. List, 2015. "Do Competitive Workplaces Deter Female Workers? A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment on Job Entry Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 122-155.
    2. Lanfranchi, Joseph & Ohlsson, Henry & Skalli, Ali, 2002. "Compensating wage differentials and shift work preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 393-398, February.
    3. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    4. Alan B. Krueger & David Schkade, 2008. "Sorting in the Labor Market: Do Gregarious Workers Flock to Interactive Jobs?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    5. Nicholas Bloom & James Liang & John Roberts & Zhichun Jenny Ying, 2015. "Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 165-218.
    6. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2016. "A Most Egalitarian Profession: Pharmacy and the Evolution of a Family-Friendly Occupation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(3), pages 705-746.
    7. Kevin Lang & Sumon Majumdar, 2004. "The Pricing Of Job Characteristics When Markets Do Not Clear: Theory And Policy Implications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1111-1128, November.
    8. Isaac Sorkin, 2016. "Ranking Firms Using Revealed Preference," 2016 Meeting Papers 66, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Scott Stern, 2004. "Do Scientists Pay to Be Scientists?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 835-853, June.
    10. Christopher Taber & Rune Vejlin, 2012. "Estimation of a Roy/Search/Compensating Differential Model of the Labor Market," 2012 Meeting Papers 566, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:33973831 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Goddeeris, John H, 1988. "Compensating Differentials and Self-selection: An Application to Lawyers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 411-428, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Redmond, Paul & McGuinness, Seamus, 2017. "The Gender Wage Gap in Europe: Job Preferences, Gender Convergence and Distributional Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 10933, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. HASEBE Takuya & KONISHI Yoshifumi & SHIN Kong Joo & MANAGI Shunsuke, 2018. "White Collar Exemption: Panacea for long work hours and low earnings?," Discussion papers 18002, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. David Card & Ana Rute Cardoso & Joerg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2018. "Firms and Labor Market Inequality: Evidence and Some Theory," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 13-70.
    4. Haroon Mumtaz, 2017. "Does uncertainty affect real activity? Evidence from state-level," Working Papers 846, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    5. Isaac Sorkin, 2016. "Ranking Firms Using Revealed Preference," 2016 Meeting Papers 66, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. repec:eee:soceco:v:69:y:2017:i:c:p:50-60 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 2016. "The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015," Working Papers 603, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. John Ameriks & Joseph S. Briggs & Andrew Caplin & Minjoon Lee & Matthew D. Shapiro & Christopher Tonetti, 2017. "Older Americans Would Work Longer If Jobs Were Flexible," NBER Working Papers 24008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Carpenter, Jeffrey & Hans Matthews, Peter & Robbett, Andrea, 2017. "Compensating differentials in experimental labor markets," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 50-60.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00573. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joe Seidel). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.