This paper studies the productivity consequences of favoritism in employee promotions within organizations. Using data from public high schools in four Chinese cities, I first show that teachers with hometown or college ties to the school principal are twice as likely to be promoted, after controlling for characteristics on their application profiles and their value-added in teaching. I then use the results from a survey in which I asked teachers to select anonymous peers to promote from a pool of applicants applying for promotion to infer each teacher’s revealed fairness views. Contrasting these with actual past promotions in turn allows me to measure if and when a teacher observed unfair promotions in her own school in the past. Exposure to unfair promotions adversely affects non-applicant teachers’ output, lowering their value-added and raising the probability that high-value-added teachers quit. The value-added effect appears to be driven primarily by teachers’ social preferences for peer workers and the consequent erosion of their morale when peers suffer unfair treatment, while the quitting effect comes mainly from non-favored prospective applicants’ career concerns as they learn about
the principal’s bias and leave due to poor promotion prospects. These adverse spillover incentive effects lead to a substantial reduction in school-wide output, which is only slightly mitigated by increased productivity among favored teachers. Finally, a transparency reform that required principals to disclose to their peers the profiles of teachers that apply for promotion reduced the principals’ bias and improved the overall productivity of schools.
Daily Income Effects in Labor Supply: Evidence from Manufacturing Workers
Research in Progress:
Reference-Dependent Daily Labor Supply: Evidence from Manufacturing Workers
The Star Illusion: High School Choices, Peer Quality and Value-Added
Measuring Gender Preferences in the Current Population Survey, joint with Doug Almond.
Uniform Across-Country Wage-Setting in Large Multinationals, joint with Jonas Hjort and Heather Sarsons.
Fall 2016 – ECON W3211: Intermediate Microeconomics (Undergraduate), Columbia University, Head TA for Professor Susan Elmes [Teaching Evaluations]
Fall 2015 – ECON G5411: Econometrics I (M.A.), Columbia University, TA for Professor George S Olley, Wueller Teaching Award (Runner-up) [Teaching Evaluations]
Spring 2016 & Fall 2017 – Department Math Tutor for M.A. Students in Economics, Columbia University