fbpx Growth Lab Research Seminar: on Superstar Teams: The Micro Origins & Macro Implications of Coworker Complementarities | Harvard Kennedy School
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Date and Location

February 13, 2023
10:15 AM - 11:30 AM EST
B-l-1 Weil Town Hall



​The Growth Lab Research Seminar series is a weekly seminar that brings together researchers from across the academic spectrum who share an interest in growth and development.Speaker: Lukas Freund, PhD candidate in Economics and Gates scholar at the University of CambridgeAbstract: Modern production frequently involves teamwork among employees specialized in different tasks. I develop a model of teams in which firms assign tasks to workers who are heterogeneous in their overall quality and whose efficiency varies across different tasks. In addition to productivity gains, the division of labor endogenously generates coworker complementarities: the marginal productivity of one employee’s quality is increasing in other team members’ quality. This interdependence is stronger when variation in worker-task specific efficiencies is high. In frictional labor markets, coworker complementarities carry macroeconomic implications for both productivity and inequality. Coworker quality mismatch lowers team productivity, leading employers to search for workers of similar quality. In equilibrium, firms with “superstar teams” pull away in terms of productivity and pay. I validate the model’s key mechanisms using administrative micro data. Paralleling a shift in the nature of tasks, a theory-informed measure of coworker complementarities has doubled since 1990. A structural estimation exercise suggests that this rise explains between one quarter and one half of the increase in the between-firm share of wage inequality in Germany (1990-2010).Location: Weil Town Hall, Belfer, HKSWhether attending in-person or virtually, please register in advance. Room attendance is limited to the Harvard community. Seating availability is based on a first-come, first-served basis. The Zoom webinar is open to the public.


Additional Organizers

​Growth Lab