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Alan Benson

Assistant Professor
Department of Work and Organizations


  • PhD 2013
    Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology


  • Labor economics
  • Organizational economics
  • Sales compensation
  • Education and training

Alan Benson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Work & Organizations, in the Carlson School of Management of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He received his PhD at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Bachelor's from Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Professor Benson's research is in empirical personnel and labor economics. Specifically, he analyzes "big data" for personnel management, using the analytical tools of microeconomics to make causal connections between firms' practices and outcomes. His research uses data from a cloud-based service for managing salespeople to analyze compensation, job performance, training, organizational structure, and managerial decision-making. His research aims to bring the tools of microeconomics to predictive analytics, and bring personnel data collected over "the cloud" to microeconomics.

His previous research has more-broadly examined how firms compete in labor markets. His papers have analyzed how firms' training practices adapt to local competition, how hospitals adapted their strategies for staffing registered nurses over the recession, how legislation mandating impasse arbitration affected collective bargaining, and how the co-location problem of dual career couples affects men's and women's careers.

His teaching includes compensation, negotiations, and business economics for MBAs, Masters of HR students, and doctoral students.

Selected Works

Benson, Alan. 2015. “Do Agents Game their Agents’ Behavior? Evidence from Sales Managers.” Journal of Labor Economics, 33(4): 863-90.
Benson, Alan. 2014. “Re-Thinking the Two-Body Problem: The Segregation of Women into Geographically-Flexible Occupations.” Demography 51(5): 1619-39.
Benson, Alan, Raimundo Estevan, and Frank Levy. "The Economics of BA Ambivalence: The Case of California Higher Education."
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.
Benson, Alan. 2012. "Labor Market Trends Among Registered Nurses: 2008-2011." Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice, 13(4): 205-13. [Formerly: "The (New) Economics of Staffing Registered Nurses."]
Benson, Alan. 2015. “A Theory of Dual Job Search and Sex-Based Occupational Clustering.” Industrial Relations, 54(3): 367-400.
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.

Current Activities

Current Research

  • Labor economics, organizational economics.