Alan Benson

Alan Benson

Assistant Professor
Department of Work and Organizations

Education:

  • PhD 2013
    Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • BS 2007
    Industrial and Labor Relations Cornell University

Expertise:

  • Economics of human resources
  • Incentives
  • Sales compensation

About Alan

Alan Benson is an Assistant Professor in the Work & Organizations Group at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Benson's research is on work and employment issues, and especially the economics of human resources. His work involves working with companies to analyze their compensation plans, incentives, and staffing practices, and then relating those to outcomes like productivity and turnover. He's done work with business-to-business salespeople, retail salespeople, police, firefighters, nurses, and manufacturing workers. His current projects examine the effects of monitoring on productivity, internal career ladders, how workers evaluate employers' reputations, and how managers screen job candidates. Recent press coverage of this work includes NY Times, WSJ, NPR, Washington Post, LA Times, NBC, CBS, PBS Newshour, Financial Times, Times of London, Die Welt, The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg, Forbes, and Time Magazine.

His teaching includes compensation and benefits for Master's of HR students, negotiations for MBA students, and labor economics for PhD students. His Coursera course on compensation and benefits has enrolled over ten thousand students. He has also run professional seminars in negotiations, compensation, and people analytics.

He received his PhD at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Bachelor's degree from the ILR School at Cornell University. He is also on the Graduate Faculty of Minnesota's Department of Applied Economics and the Minnesota Population Center (MPC).


Selected Works & Activities.

Browse some of my work and see what I’ve been up to.

  • Journal Articles
    Benson, Alan, Aaron Sojourner, and Akhmed Umyarov. Forthcoming. "Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy? Experimental Evidence from an Online Labor Market." Management Science.
    PDF
  • Journal Articles
    Benson, Alan. 2015. "Do Agents Game Their Agents' Behavior? Evidence from Sales Managers." Journal of Labor Economics, 33(4): 863-90.
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  • Journal Articles
    Benson, Alan. 2014. “Re-Thinking the Two-Body Problem: The Segregation of Women into Geographically-Flexible Occupations.” Demography, 51(5): 1619-39.
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  • Journal Articles
    Benson, Alan. 2015. “A Theory of Dual Job Search and Sex-Based Occupational Clustering.” Industrial Relations, 54(3): 367-400.
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  • Journal Articles
    Benson, Alan, and Sima Sajjadiani. 2018. "Are Bonus Pools Driven by their Incentive Effects? Evidence from Fluctuations in Gainsharing Incentives." Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 71(3): 567-99. (winner of 2017 LERA/ ILRR best paper competition)
    PDF
  • Journal Articles
    Benson, Alan. 2013. “Firm-Sponsored General Education and Mobility Frictions: Evidence from Hospital Sponsorship of Nursing Schools and Faculty.” Journal of Health Economics, 32(1): 149-59.
    JHE
    PDF
  • Journal Articles
    Kochan, Thomas A., David B. Lipsky, and Mary Newhart, and Alan Benson. 2010. “The Long-Haul Effects of Interest Arbitration: The Case of New York State’s Taylor Law.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 64(4): 565-84.
    PDF
  • Current Research

    Current research projects include:

    Benson, Alan, and Ben A. Rissing. "Strength from Within: Individual and Store-Level Evidence Transfers Outperform Hires."
    Ranganathan, Aruna, and Alan Benson. "A Stitch in Time: Work Complexity and the Divergent Effects of Employee Monitoring on Productivity."
    Benson, Alan, Danielle Li, and Kelly Shue. “Promotions and the Peter Principle.”

     

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