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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2022 Annual Theme: Stakeholder Capitalism
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



We study the impact of widespread adoption of work-at-home technology using an equilibrium model where people choose where to live, how to allocate their time between working at home and at the office, and how much space to use in production. A key parameter is the elasticity of substitution between working at home and in the office that we estimate using cross-sectional time-use data.

We examine the impact of four classes of workplace interruptions on short-term (working hours) and long-term (across-shifts) worker performance in an agribusiness setting. The interruptions are organized in a two-by-two framework where they result (or do not result) in a physical task requirement and lead to a varying degree of attention shift from the primary task.

As the nature of work has become more service-oriented, knowledge-intensive, and rapidly changing, people—be they workers or customers—have become more central to operational processes and have impacted operational outcomes in novel and perhaps more fundamental ways. Research in people-centric operations (PCO) studies how people affect the performance of operational processes. In this OM Forum, we define PCO as an area of study, offer a categorization scheme to take stock of where the field has allocated its attention to date, and offer our thoughts on promising directions for future research.

We estimate the causal effects of employee-friendly scheduling practices on store financial performance at the US retailer Gap, Inc. The randomized field experiment evaluated a multi-component intervention designed to improve dimensions of work schedules – inconsistency, unpredictability, inadequacy, and lack-of-employee control – shown to undermine employee well-being and productivity.

Empirical research in operations management has increased steadily over the last 20 years. In this paper, we discuss why this is good for our field and offer some comments on the qualities we admire in an empirical operations management paper.

Designing modern call centers requires an understanding of callers’ patience and abandonment behavior. Using a Cox regression analysis, we show that callers’ abandonment behavior may differ based on their contact history, and changes across their different contacts.

Across the globe, every workday people commute an average of 38 minutes each way, yet surprisingly little research has examined the implications of this daily routine for work-related outcomes. Integrating theories of boundary work, self-control, and work-family conflict, we propose that the commute to work serves as a liminal role transition between home and work roles, prompting employees to engage in boundary management strategies.

The effectiveness of cancer screening and adherence to cancer screening guidelines can be inhibited by long wait times for screening appointments. We develop a queueing network model of screening for a disease within a population of patients with imperfect adherence to screening guidelines to characterize the relationship between the screening request frequency rate and the wait time for screens. We first use our model to derive the capacity needed by a given system or the population size a given system can serve to guarantee a certain service level.

We consider a decentralized supply chain consisting of a retailer and a supplier that serves forward-looking consumers in two periods. In each period, the supplier and the retailer dynamically set the wholesale and retail price to maximize their own profits. The consumers are heterogeneous in their evaluations of the product and are strategic in deciding whether and when to buy the product, choosing the option that maximizes their utility, including waiting for a price markdown.

We study dynamic decision-making under uncertainty when, at each period, a decision-maker implements a solution to a combinatorial optimization problem. The objective coefficient vectors of said problem, which are unobserved prior to implementation, vary from period to period.

In many service operations, customers have repeated interactions with service providers. This creates two important questions for service design. First, how important is it to maintain the continuity of service for individuals? Second, since maintaining continuity is costly and, at times, operationally impractical for both the organization (due to potentially lower utilization) and providers (due to high effort required), should certain customer types, such as those with complex needs, be prioritized for continuity?