.ISSN (e) 1759-7331
(print) 1759-7323
Quantitative Economics
An open-access journal in quantitative economics
Journal of the
Econometric Society
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Quantitative Economics, Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2020)

Worker overconfidence: Field evidence and implications for employee turnover and firm profits

Mitchell Hoffman, Stephen V. Burks


Combining weekly productivity data with weekly productivity beliefs for a large sample of truckers over 2 years, we show that workers tend to systematically and persistently overpredict their productivity. If workers are overconfident about their own productivity at the current firm relative to their outside option, they should be less likely to quit. Empirically, all else equal, having higher productivity beliefs is associated with an employee being less likely to quit. To study the implications of overconfidence for worker welfare and firm profits, we estimate a structural learning model with biased beliefs that accounts for many key features of the data. While worker overconfidence moderately decreases worker welfare, it also substantially increases firm profits.

Overconfidence biased learning turnover D03 J24 J41 M53

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