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Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements

Alexandre Mas and Amanda Pallais ()

Working Papers from eSocialSciences

Abstract: This paper uses a field experiment to study how workers value alternative work arrangements. During the application process to staff a national call center, researchers randomly offered applicants choices between traditional M-F 9 am – 5 pm office positions and alternatives. These alternatives include flexible scheduling, working from home, and positions that give the employer discretion over scheduling. The researchers randomly varied the wage difference between the traditional option and the alternative, thereby estimating the entire distribution of willingness to pay (WTP) for these alternatives. This paper validates its results using a nationally representative survey. The great majority of workers are not willing to pay for flexible scheduling relative to a traditional schedule: either the ability to choose the days and times of work or the number of hours they work. However, the average worker is willing to give up 20% of wages to avoid a schedule set by an employer on a week’s notice. This largely represents workers’ aversion to evening and weekend work, not scheduling unpredictability. Traditional M-F 9.00AM – 5.00PM schedules are preferred by most jobseekers. Despite the fact that the average worker isn’t willing to pay for scheduling flexibility, a tail of workers with high WTP allows for sizable compensating differentials. Of the worker-friendly options this paper tests, workers are willing to pay the most (8% of wages) for the option of working from home. Women, particularly those with young children, have higher WTP for work from home and to avoid employer scheduling discretion. They are slightly more likely to be in jobs with these amenities, but the differences are not large enough to explain any wage gaps. [Working Paper 22708]

Keywords: alternative work arrangements; flexible scheduling; working from home; willingness to pay (WTP); employer scheduling discretion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-10
Note: Institutional Papers
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Journal Article: Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Valuing Alternative Work Arrangements (2016) Downloads
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