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CEU Economic Seminar Series: Wage Differentials and the Price of Workplace Flexibility

Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm

Outline of the talk:
This paper studies the interplay between how much workers value workplace flexibility, whether they have such amenities, and how the presence of amenities affects their wages. To overcome the challenge of eliciting quantitative measures of willingness to pay (WTP) at the individual level, we propose the use of dynamic choice experiments, a method which we call the Bayesian Adaptive Choice Experiment (BACE). We implement this method to collect data on the joint distribution of wages, work arrangements, and WTP for different forms of flexibility. We then introduce and estimate a model in which workers may face different prices for job amenities depending on their productivity, extending the Rosen (1986) model of compensating differentials. The model captures key patterns in the data, including (i) the relationship between wages and having amenities, (ii) inequality in workplace amenities across the earnings distribution even when workers value these amenities similarly, and (iii) the tradeoffs across different forms of flexibility. We use the estimates to explore the welfare consequences of workers facing different amenity prices.