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The Value of Bosses

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  • Edward P. Lazear

    () (Stanford University)

  • Kathryn L. Shaw

    () (Stanford University)

  • Christopher T. Stanton

    () (University of Utah)

Abstract

How and by how much do supervisors enhance worker productivity? Using a company-based data set on the productivity of technology-based services workers, supervisor effects are estimated and found to be large. Replacing a boss who is in the lower 10% of boss quality with one who is in the upper 10% of boss quality increases a team’s total output by about the same amount as would adding one worker to a nine member team. This implies that the average boss is about 1.75 times as productive as the average worker. Additionally, boss’s primary activity is teaching skills that persist.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw & Christopher T. Stanton, 2012. "The Value of Bosses," Discussion Papers 12-001, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:12-001
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    1. Amelie Schiprowski, 2020. "The Role of Caseworkers in Unemployment Insurance: Evidence from Unplanned Absences," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 016, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    2. Cruz, Marcio & Bussolo, Maurizio & Iacovone, Leonardo, 2018. "Organizing knowledge to compete," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 1-20.
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    4. Bäker, Agnes & Goodall, Amanda H., 2020. "Feline followers and “umbrella carriers”: Department Chairs’ influence on faculty job satisfaction and quit intentions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(4).
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    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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