Monday, November 30, 2015

Second Drafts of Your Papers

1.  Please proofread your document carefully before you submit it.  Silly errors should be absent from this submission.

2.  On many of the first drafts I suggested changing the order of the presentation.  You need to assure that with your new arrangement there is still a nice flow from one paragraph to the next.  If you see now way out of having a break in the discussion, put in a new section header to signify the change in topic.

3.  Along with your second draft, you should submit a document with my comments and your discussion of how you responded to them.  Each comment by me should be followed with a couple of sentences by you on how you disposed of it.  This will greatly assist in my reading of your drafts.

4.  If your paper is reasonable, I will simply send you an Okay email, which means you can proceed to the last stage of the project - your elevator speech qua PowerPoint presentation.  If your paper is not quite up to snuff, I will insist you make some more changes to it before you proceed to the last stage.

5.  If you would like to discuss you paper with me outside of class, I would be happy to meet you for that purpose.

Treating Workers Right

Perhaps this will be the start of a trend.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Grades have been uploaded into Moodle

Sorry that this took me quite a long time.  But it is there now.  Please note the following.

1.  The exam questions were each worth 40 points.  So the maximum possible score was 120.  (On the test itself, it said each question was worth 50 point.  That was a mistake based on last year's exam.)

2.  The average score was about 84%, which is not bad.  So unlike the first midterm, I didn't give any further points to pad the score.

3.  Note that on the Excel homework, there are actually 9 of these.  So you get 10 free points, which is what is in the item labeled bonus.

4.  You can see the class grade distribution in a file labeled Midterm 2 Results.

Midterm 2 has been graded - exam scores will be uploaded in a few hours.

I need to take a break now.  I will upload not just the exam scores but the recent Excel homework and blog posts tracking will also be updated.   I will post the grade distribution for the exam.

Tomorrow I will read you blog posts on reputation.  If you haven't done one of those posts yet, you can still get that in so that I will read and respond to your post.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reminders/Happy Thanksgiving

1.  There is a blog post due on Friday.  It is on reputations.

2.  The last Excel homework has been posted.  It is on the Shapiro-Stiglitz model.  There is a video for it that you should watch first.

3.  If you are going out of town for the holiday, have a good time.  If you are staying in the area and want ti meet with me, about your paper or about anything else, I'd be happy to do that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Excel Homework Due December 1 at 11 PM

This is the last Excel Homework.

This homework is on extensions of the basic Shapiro and Stiglitz model, with a particular focus on making the monitoring intensity a choice variable.

You should watch the video presentation of the basic model first.   This is a full lecture on the math of the model.  It takes about a half hour.  (If you want the PowerPoint file, a link to it is in the description of the video.)

xlsx file

Sunday, November 15, 2015

About the marked up versions of your papers

I have just now finished marking up the 8th paper.  I'm hopeful that by the end of the day I can do 3 more of these and then perhaps a couple more tomorrow morning.  If you don't get your marked up paper by class tomorrow, give me a nudge and I will get it done in the afternoon.

I plan to spend a few minutes of class time tomorrow illustrating what you need to do from a Word Processing point of view to produce your second drafts and to show you have responded to my comments.  On the substance of what you write and what I've commented on, you are welcome to discuss that with me either via email or by setting up a meeting with me.

Do note that I am commenting as I read, one time through only.  I am not waiting to read through the whole paper and then return to make comments.  That might be fairer to you, but it is just too time consuming for me.  It also illustrates to you how I read.  I make argument with what I'm reading then and there.  What I hope your writing in response does is to grapple with that argument and to anticipate some further argument.

Finally, on a technical note, please know that I'm putting in a section break between your title page and the first page of your paper.  I'm also using page numbering that utilizes the Different First Page feature, so that the first page with a page number is page 2 of the body of the paper (page 3 of the document).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For those who were in class today

The graph I drew on the blackboard today was taken from the paper Why Is Their Mandatory Retirement?  This paper is from 1979 and the labor market was quite different then.

Below is the comparable graph from he paper.  In the graph, W* is the wage that is actually paid, W tilde is the reservation wage, and V* is the marginal value product.   That the lines are straight is simply to make the graph more readable.  But we should note the slope.  That W* is steeper than W tilde connotes a seniority premium to the actual wage.  That W tilde is upward sloping suggests that with experience there is some of accumulation of general human capital that has value when working elsewhere.  Note that in class drew that reservation wage curve as humped.  It rises for a while but then it starts to decline.  I think that is more realistic.  After some age (perhaps 55 or so) the person slows down and that trumps the human capital accumulation part.  Where the peak is surely depends on the individual and the nature of the work the person does.  Also note that at some age, the reservation wage reflects more the value of leisure than the productivity in some other job.

Likewise, I drew the marginal value product curve as humped.  I think that is more realistic, though there is no doubt that the graph below is cleaner to look at.  Economics modeling says to look at the simplest possible model that illustrates the points the author wants to make.  So Lazear's graph wins over the one I drew in class today for that reason.

Finally, I forgot to say something very important in class with respect to this graph.  As the picture is drawn, the employee does not want to retire at T because W*(T) > W tilde (T).  So in Lazear's model mandatory retirement (which is no longer legal) gets the separation of the worker from the firm to happen when it should.  Absent mandatory retirement there needs to be some other mechanism to encourage separation (perhaps certain types of pensions will do this) or one can't rely on seniority premiums as much as one could when mandatory retirement was legal.

Interesting Example of Moving From Pay for Performance to a Fixed Wage

I found this one from the Facebook sidebar.  Not everything there is junk.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Getting into it

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
James M. Barrie
Scottish dramatist & novelist (1860 - 1937)

So the question for management might be framed, what do you need to do to shape the job so the employees wouldn't rather be doing something else.  

We'll discuss this in class tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Note that the author of this piece is female!

Forecasting economic growth, as this essay discusses, is more art than science.  While I don't do a lot of economic forecasting in class, the hemline hypothesis is not one I'd bring up even if I were discussing a macroeconomic forecast.  And the problem with other indicators that might seem more sensible, like the number of cranes one sees in a major metropolitan area, is that when the number is high you are already in the boom.  It doesn't tell you when the boom might end and wasn't all that useful to help you know when the boom would begin.

Suggestions for Course Paper

The paper is meant to be formal writing, yet with the intended audience students who will take the class in the future.  I know much student to student communication is quite informal and full of abbreviations, driven by how texting has changed the way we communicate.  So what I mean here is that student readers should find your paper not too difficult to understand, if they put in the effort to read it.  This means that if you use jargon, you must define it in understandable terms.  It also means that you shouldn't take long excerpts from the paper you are reviewing and instead put the arguments in the paper into your own words.  Beyond that, here are several specific suggestions.

Chunk the paper and use section headings for each chunk.

Some specific sections that you should include are (You can have other sections as well and/or have multiple sections associated with any one of these.):

1.  What is the main issue that the paper deals with?  (You should come up with your one section heading for this and the remaining sections.)

2.  What is the contribution of the paper?  If others have also written on this issue how has this paper added to our understanding as compared to what came before?

3.  How do the issue of the paper tie into what we've done in the class?

4.  What are some lessons learned from the paper?

5.  Do you have your own views on the matter or some examples you can bring in that are not discussed in the paper but that might illustrate ideas in the paper?

6.  Conclusion

A big deal issue with formal writing is the sequencing of your presentation.  Even after you know what you are going to say, you need to order your presentation that will make it logical for the reader.  One thought that guides formal writing is that the authors do the work so the readers don't have to.

Each team member needs to own the whole paper.

This means, in particular, that if one team member writes a section of the paper, the other edits that section and makes changes to it in an effort to improve things.  It also means that each team member is concerned with whether one section flows into the next in a smooth way.  Abrupt transitions are to be avoided, because they confuse the reader.

Format of the paper

Please submit a Word document, preferably a docx file.  I may use Track Changes in giving my response.  I will try to give a demo in class of how to use Track Changes, as my prior experience is that some students are unfamiliar with it.

You need a title page.  It has the name of the paper, the team name, the date, and an abstract, which is a brief summary of what the paper is about.

Starting with the next page, the body of the paper should be between 6 and 10 pages, single space within paragraphs, line space between paragraphs.  Font size should be 11 or 12 point.  Margins should be 1 inch.  Since the paper this would be printed out on is 8.5 x 11 inches, this means the writing area is 6.5 x 9 inches.

Please use page numbers as it makes it easier to refer to parts of your paper in an email.  Do not number the title page.  I prefer page numbers to be on the bottom of the page.  If you start a New Section after the title page and you format page numbers so the new section begins with page 1, that will give you the desired result.

After the body of the paper you need a page for references, rather than put footnotes to references in the body of the paper.  My preferred way of doing this is that the first time you refer to the reference in your paper you list authors only, not the title of the piece.  If you make subsequent use of the references you can then repeat the authors names.  Then in the reference area, you can make a full reference.  I like to have those hyperlinked to the source if possible.  And if you are real slick, you can put in internal links in the paper from where you refer to the piece to the reference item.    That makes things quite convenient for the reader.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

There is no Excel homework for next week

We will extend the discussion of the principal-agent model, but without doing further math.  This should also free up some time for you to work on the first drafts of your papers.

Monday, November 2, 2015

This Wednesday - A Celebration

I will bring donuts and cider.  We'll take 5 minutes or so to enjoy that we've made it this far into the semester.

Learning Rubrics

Value rubrics from the AACU

We will use this for a different purpose than it was originally intended.  (The original purpose is to provide guidelines for instructors in evaluating student work, so that there are common rubrics for making such an evaluation for all all classes to be used in addition to course specific ways of evaluating student work.)  Here we will use the rubrics as part of an exercise in metacognition.  Focus on the Creative Thinking rubrics (page3) and the Critical Thinking Rubrics (pages 4 and 5).


Video on Moral Hazard

This brief video begins our discussion of moral hazard by giving a definition of the term and providing some common examples.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Video on Conflict in Organizations

This brief video gives some background on the issues including a brief discussion of chapter 8 in Bolman and Deal.