Welch College of Business to Host 'Why Work When You Can Shirk?'

News Story: October 5, 2008

The 20th John F. Welch College of Business Research Forum will be held on Thursday, October 2, from 12:45 to 1:45 pm in the Roncalli Hall Lobby. Dr. Russell P. Engel, Assistant Professor of Business Economics, will present his paper titled, "Why Work When You Can Shirk? Worker Productivity in an Experimental Setting." The John F. Welch College of Business Research Forum is normally held twice a semester and is organized by Dr. E. Daniel Shim, director of Research.

Dr. Engel earned his Ph.D. at Florida State University in Economics in 2007. His research interests are in Applied Microeconomics, Experimental Economics and Game Theory. His recent research uses economic experiments to examine labor market contracts and risk preferences. He is a member of the American Economic Association, Southern Economic Association, and the Economic Science Association.

All are welcome but reservations are requested. RSVP by Friday, September 26, to Rosemary Dobosz, doboszr@sacredheart.edu.

Agenda: 12:45 – 1:30, Presentation; 1:30 – 1:45, Questions and Answers

Abstract: Employee shirking has the potential to be extremely costly to firms. To counter the productivity loss caused by shirking, firms may institute various incentive schemes. Previous experimental research has shown that while monitoring does decrease shirking, some subjects work without explicit financial incentives. This paper presents the results of an economic experiment designed to investigate the effect of various incentive schemes on subject behavior. Subjects are allowed to engage two tasks; one task mimics work for an employer, the other task allows for gains due to shirking. We find that subjects who are given incentives to shirk do in fact shirk, but monitoring and an attainable quota lead to increased productivity. However, when the quota is unattainable, subjects revolt and engage in a high amount of shirking.