MTurk field experiment studies CSR

I read this article on HuffPo by Vanessa Burbano, a professor at Columbia who did a study looking at whether a company with good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices could pay employees less. The idea is that the worker would feel ‘better’ about working for a ‘good’ company and that would be what we call in Oregon the ‘second paycheck’. Basically, the author found that people say they would accept lower wages after reading about a firm’s CSR activities. Burbano says this is because the CSR activity messages suggest to potential employees that the company will treat employees fairly.

She also argues that MTurk is a great way to conduct field experiments about the workplace:

“This paper serves as an example of how online labor marketplaces can be leveraged as settings for randomized experiments to study inputs to worker outcomes, with potential for similar methodology to be applied to other questions relevant to management and strategy literature. Prior research has used online labor marketplaces as alternatives to lab experiments where participants are told they are participating in a research study, but they have been underutilized as settings in which to implement natural field experiments (where participants are unaware they are taking part in a study). Only very recently have researchers began to tap their potential as field experimental settings to study inputs to worker motivation and output. Furthermore, as the management of online workers, independent contractors, and other non-inhouse workers is becoming increasingly important to the firm, online labor marketplaces will become increasingly relevant settings.”

The entire paper is available to download here: and will be published in Organization Science.

Reminder! Tomorrow morning we’ll have an announcement about a special deal on our book! Be sure to check here tomorrow!

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