The Value of Complementary Coworkers

In this video, Frank Neffke, Research Director at Harvard's Growth Lab, discusses his research on the importance of teams and coworkers when it comes to one’s productivity, earning potential, and stays of employment.

The results show that coworkers can have a remarkable effect on wages: the returns to having complementary coworkers are comparable to the returns to having a college degree. Moreover, coworker complementarities help answer a number of old questions: Why can workers with the same education earn drastically different wages? Why do large cities pay such high wages? And why do workers earn higher wages in large establishments than in small establishments, even if they have similar skills? It turns out that we can provide answers to each of these questions that have to do with how complementary or substitutable a worker is to his or her coworkers.

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