DP10928 Network Effects on Worker Productivity

Author(s): Matthew Lindquist, Jan Sauermann, Yves Zenou
Publication Date: November 2015
Keyword(s): on-the-job training, peer effects, social networks, worker productivity
JEL(s): J24, M53, Z13
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10928

We use data from an in-house call center of a multi-national mobile network operator to study how co-worker productivity affects worker productivity via network effects. We also exploit data from a field experiment to analyze how exogenous changes in worker productivity due to on-the-job training affect co-worker productivity, including non-trained workers. We show that there are strong network effects in co-worker productivity. This effect is driven by conformist behavior. We also show that exposure to trained workers increases the productivity of non-trained workers. This effect works through strategic complementarities (knowledge spillovers). We demonstrate how our network model of worker productivity can be used to inform a variety of practical decisions faced by personnel managers including the design of optimal training policy.