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Multi-tasking and the Returns to Experience

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  • Parama Chaudhury

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Parama Chaudhury, 2010. "Multi-tasking and the Returns to Experience," Economics Series Working Papers 518, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:518
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    Cited by:

    1. Boucekkine, Raouf & Crifo, Patricia, 2008. "Human Capital Accumulation And The Transition From Specialization To Multitasking," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 320-344, June.
    2. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 2006. "Enriching a Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics inside Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 59-108, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Teams; job rotation; experience; cohorts;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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