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The Personnel Economics Approach to Public Workforce Research

Gibbs, Michael PhD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: November 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 6 - p S73–S78
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181b3a4c6
Article

This article argues that the relatively new field of personnel economics (PE) holds strong potential as a tool for studying public sector workforces. This subfield of labor economics is based on a strong foundation of microeconomics, which provides a robust theoretical foundation for studying workforce and organizational design issues. PE has evolved on this foundation to a strong practical emphasis, with theoretical insights designed for practical use and with strong focus on empirical research. The field is also characterized by creative data entrepreneurship. The types of datasets that personnel economists use are described. If similar datasets can be obtained for public sector workforces, PE should be a very useful approach for studying them.

This article argues that the relatively new field of personnel economics holds strong potential as a tool for studying public sector workforces.

Clinical Professor of Economics and Human Resources, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, Illinois, and Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn, Germany. He conducts research on personnel economics. (Gibbs)

Corresponding Author: Michael Gibbs, PhD, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 5807 South Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637 (Michael.Gibbs@ChicagoBooth.edu).

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.