Contrary to popular opinion, human resources, in general, and personnel, in particular, are well-suited to economic analysis. Edward Lazear, who founded the subfield of personnel economics, provides a quick introduction for economists who have not studied the area. He clearly and engagingly summarizes his and others’ work that has taken place during the past fifteen years, including recent advances in the field.
Mainstream economic theory has been considered too abstract to be of much practical use in the hiring, organizing, and motivating of employees, leaving the field of personnel to industrial psychologists and sociologists. In this book Edward Lazear shows that economic analysis can be extended to an important, but traditionally neglected, class of practical problems. He shows that by adding more detail and structure to their theory, economists can make specific predictions and prescriptions for personnel issues that arise in business on a daily basis. Lazear focuses on compensation and its relation to worker motivation, selection, and teamwork. He also discusses job design, job evaluation, institutional arrangements, and directions for future research.