• Unions and investment in intangible capital Updated

    When workers and firms cannot commit to long-term contracts and capital investments are sunk, union power can reduce investment

    Although coverage of collective bargaining agreements has been declining for decades in most countries, it is still extensive, especially in non-Anglo-Saxon countries. Strong unions may influence firms' incentives to invest in capital, particularly in sectors where capital investments are sunk (irreversible), as in research-intensive sectors. Whether unions affect firms' investment in capital depends on the structure and coordination of bargaining, the preference of unions between wages and employment, the quality of labor-management relations, the structure of corporate governance, and the existence of social pacts, among other factors.
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  • Eliminating discrimination in hiring isn’t enough

    Firms interested in workplace diversity should consider the post-hiring stage and why some minority employees choose to leave

    While many firms have recognized the importance of recruiting and hiring diverse job applicants, they should also pay attention to the challenges newly hired diverse candidates may face after entering the company. It is possible that they are being assessed by unequal or unequitable standards compared to their colleagues, and they may not have sufficient access to opportunities and resources that would benefit them. These disparities could affect the career trajectory, performance, satisfaction, and retention of minority employees. Potential solutions include randomizing task assignments and creating inclusive networking and support opportunities.
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  • Maternity leave versus early childcare—What are the long-term consequences for children? Updated

    Despite increasingly generous parental leave schemes their advantages over subsidized childcare remain unclear

    There is growing agreement among parents in high-income countries that having a working mother does not harm a preschool child. Yet, research is ongoing on what the long-term effects on children are of being looked after at home (primarily by their mothers) or in childcare. Most studies find positive effects of childcare on child outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and moderate effects for children from more advantaged backgrounds. Policymakers need to improve compensation and the working environment for the sector if a high quality level is to be achieved and if the beneficial effects are to be maintained.
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  • Female education and its impact on fertility Updated

    Additional female educational attainment generally lowers fertility, but the relationship is complex

    Jungho Kim , May 2023
    The negative correlation between women's education and fertility has been observed across regions and time, although it is now weaker among high-income countries. Women's education level could affect fertility through its impact on women's health and their physical capacity to give birth, children's health, the number of children desired, and women's ability to control birth and knowledge of different birth control methods. Each of these mechanisms depends on the individual, institutional, and country circumstances experienced. Their relative importance may change along a country's economic development process.
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  • The Danish labor market, 2000–2022 Updated

    The Danish flexicurity model has proven its resilience to large shocks, with favorable overall labor market performance

    Denmark is often highlighted as a “flexicurity” country with lax employment protection legislation, generous unemployment insurance, and active labor market policies. This model has coped with the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic, avoiding large increases in long-term and structural unemployment. The recovery from Covid-19 alongside re-openings has been swift, so labor market effects were temporary. A string of recent reforms has boosted labor supply and employment; although fiscal sustainability is ensured, demographic changes challenge the labor market. Real wage growth has been positive and responded—with some lag—to unemployment.
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  • Trust in management in organizations

    Employee trust in their managers allows a firm to delegate decision-making, aiding both productivity and profitability

    It is not possible for a formal employment contract to detail everything an employee should do and when. Informal relationships, in particular trust, allow managers to arrange a business in a more productive way; high-trust firms are both more profitable and faster growing. For example, if they are trusted, managers can delegate decisions to employees with confidence that employees will believe the promised rewards. This is important because employees are often better informed than their bosses. Consequently, firms that rely solely on formal contracts will miss profitable opportunities.
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  • How digital payments can benefit entrepreneurs Updated

    Digital payments can effectively connect entrepreneurs with banks, employees, suppliers, and new markets

    Leora Klapper , April 2023
    Digital payment systems can conveniently and affordably connect entrepreneurs with banks, employees, suppliers, and new markets for their goods and services. These systems can accelerate business registration and payments for business licenses and permits by reducing travel time and expenses. Digital financial services can also improve access to savings accounts and loans. Electronic wage payments to workers can increase security and reduce the time and cost of paying employees. Yet, there are challenges as many entrepreneurs and employees lack bank accounts, digital devices, and reliable technology infrastructure.
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  • Performance measures and worker productivity Updated

    Choosing the right performance measures can inform and improve decision-making in policy and management

    Jan Sauermann , April 2023
    Measuring workers’ productivity is important for public policy and private-sector decision-making. Due to the lack of a general measure that captures workers’ productivity, firms often use one- or multi-dimensional performance measures, which can be used, for example, to analyze how different incentive systems affect workers’ behavior. The public sector itself also uses measures to monitor and evaluate personnel, such as teachers. Policymakers and managers need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the available metrics to select the right performance measures for their purpose.
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  • Does it pay to be beautiful? Updated

    Physically attractive people can earn more, particularly in customer-facing jobs, and the rewards for men are higher than for women

    It is a well-established view amongst economists that good-looking people have a better chance of employment and can earn more than those who are less physically attractive. A “beauty premium” is particularly apparent in jobs where there is a productivity gain associated with good looks, though this varies for women and men, and varies across countries. People sort into occupations according to the relative returns to their physical and other characteristics; good-looking people take jobs where physical appearance is deemed important while less-attractive people steer away from them, or they are required to be more productive for the same wage.
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  • Should countries auction immigrant visas? Updated

    Selling the right to immigrate to the highest bidders would allocate visas efficiently but might raise ethical concerns

    Madeline Zavodny , March 2023
    Many immigrant destination countries face considerable pressure to change their immigration policies. One of the most innovative policies is auctioning the right to immigrate or to hire a foreign worker to the highest bidders. Visa auctions would be more efficient than current ways of allocating visas, could boost the economic contribution of immigration to the destination country, and would increase government revenues. However, visa auctions might weaken the importance of family ties in the migration process and create concerns about fairness and accessibility. No country has yet auctioned visas, although several have considered doing so.
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