labor economics

The Economics of Babysitting a Robot

I study the welfare effect of automation on workers in a setting where technology is complementary but imperfect. Using a modified task-based framework, I argue that imperfect complementary automation can impose non-pecuniary costs on workers via a …

Give Me a Challenge or Give Me a Raise

I study the effect of task difficulty on workers’ effort. I find that task difficulty has an inverse-U effect on effort and that this effect is quantitatively large, especially when compared to the effect of conditional monetary rewards. Difficulty …

Using Response Times to Measure Ability on a Cognitive Task

I show how using response times as a proxy for effort can address a long-standing issue of how to separate the effect of cognitive ability on performance from the effect of motivation. My method is based on a dynamic stochastic model of optimal …

The Role of Motivation in Intelligence Testing

I aim to explore what is the effect of motivation on test scores and how that effect compares to the effect of cognitive ability. The literature on human capital development has long suggested that motivation plays a vital role in success in …