Labour Economics

Teaching assistants, computers and classroom management

Many students still leave school without a good grasp of basic literacy, despite the negative implications for future educational and labour market outcomes. We evaluate how resources may be used within classrooms to reinforce the teaching of literacy. Specifically, teaching assistants are trained to deliver a tightly structured package of materials to groups of young children aged 5–6. The training is randomly allocated between and within schools. Within schools, teaching assistants are randomly assigned to receive training in either computer-aided instruction or the paper equivalent.

Identifying the employment effect of invoking and changing the minimum wage: A spatial analysis of the UK

This paper assesses the impact of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) on employment in the UK over the 1999–2010 period explicitly modelling the effect of the 2008–2010 recession. Identification of invoking a NMW is possible by reference to a pre-period (prior to 1999) without a NMW. Separate identification of the effect of incremental changes (and year interaction effects) in the NMW is facilitated by variation in the bite of the NMW across local labour markets.

Do Salaries Improve Worker Performance?

We establish the effects of salaries on worker performance by exploiting a natural experiment in which some workers in a particular occupation (football referees) switch from short-term contracts to salaried contracts. Worker performance improves among those who move onto salaried contracts relative to those who do not. The finding is robust to the introduction of worker fixed effects indicating that it is not driven by better workers being awarded salary contracts. Nor is it sensitive to workers sorting into or out of the profession.

Heterogeneous Worker Ability and Team-based Production: Evidence from Major League Baseball, 1920-2009

A detailed longitudinal dataset is assembled containing annual performance and biographical data for every player over the entire history of professional major league baseball. The data are then aggregated to the team level for the period 1920-2009 in order to test whether teams built on a more even distribution of observed talent perform better than those teams with a mixture of highly able and less able players. The dependent variable used in the regressions is the percentage of games a team wins each season.