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Multi-tasking and the Returns to Experience

  • Parama Chaudhury

In this paper, I study how an increase in the use of new work practices that involve multi-tasking has affected the returns to experience.� If each task in a job has a concave learning curve, then increasing the number of tasks may increase the returns to experience.� Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I provide evidence for the fact that successive cohorts have greater returns to experience.� Next, I construct proxies for multi-tasking using Paul Osterman's 1992 survey of workplace practices in U.S. establishments, and find that (i) later cohorts choose jobs with greater multi-tasking, (ii) the rate of within-job wage growth rises with the degree of multi-tasking, and (iii) the returns to experience are larger in jobs with more multi-tasking.� Finally, I find mixed evidence on the effect of unobserved heterogeneity, which implies that part of these larger returns to experience may be because those in jobs with more multi-tasking have higher unobserved ability.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper518.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 518.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:518
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  1. Elhanan Helpman & Antonio Rangel, 1998. "Adjusting to a New Technology: Experience and Training," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1833, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Thomas N Hubbard & Luis Garicano, 2003. "Specialization, Firms, and Markets: The Division of Labor Within and Between Law Firms," Working Papers 03-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Carmichael, H Lorne & MacLeod, W Bentley, 1993. "Multiskilling, Technical Change and the Japanese Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 142-60, January.
  4. Morris M. Kleiner & Jonathan S. Leonard & Adam M. Pilarski, 2002. "How industrial relations affects plant performance: The case of commercial aircraft manufacturing," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(2), pages 195-218, January.
  5. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  6. Avner Ben-Ner & Fanmin Kong & Tzu-Shian Han & Nien-Chi Liu & Yong-Seung Park, 2001. "The Organization of Work: Changes and Their Consequences," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 27, pages 121-134.
  7. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1999. "Technological Change and Wages: An Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 285-325, April.
  8. Van Reenen, John & Caroli, Eve, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence from a panel of British and French establishments," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/10093, Paris Dauphine University.
  9. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. MacPherson, 1993. "Union membership and coverage files from the Current Population Surveys: Note," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 574-578, April.
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