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Department of Agricultural Economics Seminar

Haste Makes Waste: Evidence on Speed and Quality Trade-offs in the Workplace by Dr. Alexandra Hill, Colorado State University

3:00 pm–4:30 pm
Filley Hall Room: 210
Additional Info: FYH
Sheila Johnson, (402) 472-2757,
Understanding the determinants of labor productivity is central to economics, but empirical work often considers a single aspect of productivity – speed. This paper asks whether focusing on speed misses spillovers to quality. Using novel high frequency data on the speed and quality of strawberry harvesters, we find evidence to support the old adage that haste makes waste: increases in worker speed are accompanied with decreases in the quality of their work. We find that peer speed and wage changes increase worker speed and decrease output quality; mechanisms that increase speed by ten percent cause quality to fall by 1.5 to 1.7 percent.

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