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Using Behavioral Economic Field Experiments at a Large Motor Carrier: The Context and Design of the Truckers and Turnover Project


  • Stephen V. Burks
  • Jeffrey Carpenter
  • Lorenz Goette
  • Kristen Monaco
  • Aldo Rustichini
  • Kay Porter


The Truckers and Turnover Project is a statistical case study of a single firm and its employees which matches proprietary personnel and operational data to new data collected by the researchers to create a two-year panel study of a large subset of new hires. The project's most distinctive innovation is the data collection process which combines traditional survey instruments with behavioral economics experiments. The survey data include information on demographics, risk and loss aversion, time preference, planning, non-verbal IQ, and the MPQ personality profile. The data collected by behavioral economics experiments include risk and loss aversion, time preferences (discount rates), backward induction, patience, and the preference for cooperation in a social dilemma setting. Subjects will be followed over two years of their work lives. Among the major design goals are to discover the extent to which the survey and experimental measures are correlated, and whether and how much predictive power, with respect to key on-the-job outcome variables, is added by the behavioral measures. The panel study of new hires is being carried out against the backdrop of a second research component, the development of a more conventional in-depth statistical case study of the cooperating firm and its employees. This is a high-turnover service industry setting, and the focus is on the use of survival analysis to model the flow of new employees into and out of employment, and on the correct estimation of the tenure-productivity curve for new hires, accounting for the selection effects of the high turnover.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen V. Burks & Jeffrey Carpenter & Lorenz Goette & Kristen Monaco & Aldo Rustichini & Kay Porter, 2007. "Using Behavioral Economic Field Experiments at a Large Motor Carrier: The Context and Design of the Truckers and Turnover Project," NBER Working Papers 12976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12976
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bandiera Oriana & Barankay Iwan & Rasul Imran, 2006. "The Evolution of Cooperative Norms: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-28, March.
    2. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
    3. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    4. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    5. Dale L. Belman & Kristen A. Monaco, 2001. "The Effects of Deregulation, De-Unionization, Technology, and Human Capital on the Work and Work Lives of Truck Drivers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 502-524, January.
    6. William T. Dickens & Kevin Lang, 1992. "Labor Market Segmentation Theory: Reconsidering the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    8. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Cain, Glen G, 1976. "The Challenge of Segmented Labor Market Theories to Orthodox Theory: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 1215-1257, December.
    10. Boyer, Kenneth D. & Burks, Stephen V., 2007. "Stuck in the Slow Lane: Traffic Composition and the Measurement of Labor Productivity in the U.S. Trucking Industry," IZA Discussion Papers 2576, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Philippe Robert-Demontrond & R. Ringoot, 2004. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00081823, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, September.
    2. Steffen Altmann & Armin Falk & Matthias Wibral, 2012. "Promotions and Incentives: The Case of Multistage Elimination Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 149-174.
    3. Croson, Rachel & Gächter, Simon, 2010. "The science of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 122-131, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation

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