Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interesting datum on book logging

Slate's Ray Fisman has an interesting piece on pay and motivation in workers. However, I'm going to focus on one section since it relates to the book project.
The experimenters checked in every 90 minutes to tabulate how many books had been logged. At the first check-in, the $20-per-hour employees had completed more than 50 books apiece, while the $12-an-hour employees barely managed 40 each. In the second 90-minute stretch, the no-gift group maintained their 40-book pace, while the gift group fell from more than 50 to 45. For the last half of the experiment, the "gifted" employees performed no better—40 books per 90-minute period—than the "ungifted" ones. The goodwill of high wages took less than three hours to evaporate completely—hardly a prescription for boosting long-term productivity.
I'm sure the data logging here is probably uses a bit more information than I've been using for the book project. I doubt, however, that it includes the shelve/unshelve time or any time for moving books. So it's good to know that even at 2/3 my measured rate, I'm able to keep up with this baseline group. I'd hate to be wasting my time.

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