NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Zoë B. Cullen

60 N. Harvard, Rock Center 210
Harvard Business School
Boston, MA 02163

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

October 2018The Salary Taboo: Privacy Norms and the Diffusion of Information
with Ricardo Perez-Truglia: w25145
The diffusion of salary information has important implications for labor markets, such as for wage discrimination policies and collective bargaining. Despite the widespread view that transmission of salary information is imperfect and unequal, there is little direct evidence on the magnitude and sources of these frictions. We conduct a field experiment with 752 employees at a multibillion-dollar corporation to address these questions. We provide evidence of significant frictions in how employees search for and share salary information and suggestive evidence that these frictions are due to privacy norms. We do not find any significant differences in information frictions between female and male employees.
July 2018How Much Does Your Boss Make? The Effects of Salary Comparisons
with Ricardo Perez-Truglia: w24841
We study how employees learn about the salaries of their peers and managers and how their beliefs about those salaries affect their own behavior. We conducted a field experiment with a sample of 2,060 employees from a multi-billion dollar corporation. We combine rich data from surveys and administrative records with data from the experiment, which provided some employees with accurate information about the salaries of others. First, we document large misperceptions about salaries and identify some of their sources. Second, we find that perceived peer and manager salaries have a significant causal effect on employee behavior. These effects are different for horizontal and vertical comparisons. While higher perceived peer salary decreases effort, output, and retention, higher perceived mana...
 
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