Alexander M. Nick Professor
Business Economics and Public Policy
University of Michigan
R4344, 701 Tappan Street, 48109
PhD, economics, Yale University (2009)
BA, math and economics, University of Pennsylvania (2004)
Research interests: development economics, organizational economics, health economics
BE 300 (Applied Microeconomics; BBA)
BUSABRD 320 (Doing Business in India, BBA)
ECON 666 (Economic Development, PhD)
In the 2020-2021 academic year I taught a master's course in applied economics and a PhD course in development economics.
I will be on sabbatical for the 2021-2022 academic year.
BUSABRD 320: Doing Business in India
2018-2020 | BBA | Syllabus
ECON 666: Economic Development
2018-2020 | PhD | Syllabus
BE 300 / BE 557: Applied Economics
2015-2020 | BBA / master's | Syllabus
BE 888: Enterprise and Health in Emerging Economies
2014, 2016 | PhD | Syllabus
HMP 663: The Economics of Health Management and Policy II
2014 | MPH/MHSA | Syllabus
HPM 591a: Global Health Economics (at Yale)
2010-2012 | MPH | Syllabus
Management and Shocks to Worker Productivity
When workers face environmental shocks, managers reallocate tasks within teams, shifting workers away from jobs in which their performance is most affected.
pdf | Journal of Political Economy, 2022, 130:1 (lead article)
What makes a good manager good? We let the data tell us -- and find that hard-to-observe things like attention and control have large effects on productivity, and are drastically undervalued in manager pay.
pdf | august 2021 | Review of Economic Studies (forthcoming)
Protecting Infants from Natural Disasters: The Case of Vitamin A Supplementation and a Tornado in Bangladesh
with Snaebjorn Gunnsteinsson, Teresa Molina, Parul Christian, Alain Labrique, Jonathan Sugimoto, Abu Ahmed Shamim, and Keith P. West, Jr.with Kathleen Beegle
Can policy protect against the often devastating human impacts of environmental shocks? We study this question by leveraging data from a situation in which a tornado tore through an area involved in a double-blind cluster-randomized controlled trial of at-birth vitamin A supplementation in Bangladesh.
pdf | Journal of Development Economics (conditionally accepted)
When It Rains It Pours: The Long-run Economic Impacts of Salt Iodization in the United States
(Mis)information and Anxiety: Experimental Evidence from a Covid-19 Information Campaign
We ask whether information can be delivered without negative consequences to mental health. We randomly assigned individuals to receive Covid-19 information through text messages, a pre-recorded audio message, or phone calls. Phone calls were effective at engaging individuals. They improved Covid-19 knowledge and reduced depression and anxiety; the amount of information delivered does not account for this effect.
pdf | june 2021 | Journal of Development Economics (forthcoming)
An Anatomy of Performance Monitoring
Performance monitoring works because managers can better target skill investments in their workers. But skills depreciate, so failing to refresh training can result in dilution of productivity impacts over time.
pdf | june 2022 (NEW!)
Hostel Takeover: Living Conditions, Reference Dependence, and the Wellbeing of Migrant Workers
Worker satisfaction depends critically on how expectations are set by firms. Migrant workers experienced large losses in subjective wellbeing when randomized improvements in hostel living conditions were more modest than expected.
pdf | july 2020 | R&R, Journal of Public Economics
Diagnosing Quality: Learning, Amenities, and the Demand for Health Care
Absenteeism, Productivity, and Relational Contracting Inside the Firm
We study the behavior of managers who share workers across teams to weather absenteeism shocks. Relationships have some smoothing value, but many potentially beneficial transfers are left unrealized. We simulate the gains to increased relationship formation and find that the firm could reduce worker misallocation and increase productivity substantially by spurring relationship formation.
pdf | october 2021
Sotto Voce: The Impacts of Technology to Enhance Worker Voice
Enabling worker voice through a two-way, anonymous, SMS-based technology decreases absenteeism and turnover, despite infrequent usage. Our findings suggest a substantial option value of voice, which can promote positive workplace behaviors even when workers do not directly avail themselves of the technology.
pdf | september 2021
No Line Left Behind: Assortative Matching Inside the Firm
Do talented managers match with productive workers, or with those who are struggling to perform? We find negative assortative matching of managers and workers. Despite supermodularity of production, "misallocating" managerial skill in this way may be optimal for firms who value buyer relationships.
pdf | september 2021
Managing Demand Shocks: Evidence from Quick Service Restaurants
Organizational Responses to Product Cycles: Evidence from Auto Manufacturing
Model Selection for AI-based Hiring
Optimal Employment Contracts with Psychometrics
Empowerment for Positive Living in Uganda [project description]
(Mis)allocation of Managerial Training Inside the Firm
Impacts of Skilling and Employment Opportunities on Female Migrant Workers and their Families
Behavioral Bidding in a Manufacturing Supply Chain
REVIEWS / OTHER
The Stakeholder Disagreement Metric (SDM): Quantifying Preference Disagreement Between Product Stakeholders
with Suzanne Chou et al.
Developing metrics for disagreement in the preferences of stakeholders in early-stage product design.
Journal of Mechanical Design, forthcoming
"He was trapped in his own web” - Dependent drinking as a poverty trap: a qualitative study from Goa, India
with Jaclyn Schess et al.
Qualitative evidence on alcohol consumption as a poverty trap in India.
published (gated) | Drug and Alcohol Review, 2020
Cash transfers for clinical and household economic outcomes among HIV-affected households in Uganda: A factorial randomized trial
with Ed Mills et al.
Can cash transfers improve the health of HIV-positive individuals in low-income settings?
published (gated) | AIDS, 2018
Review article: management interventions can improve worker and firm productivity in low-income country contexts.
pdf | IZA World of Labor, 2018
An Experiment in India Shows How Much Companies Have to Gain by Investing in Their Employees
with Lavanya Garg, Namrata Kala, and Anant Nyshadham
A summary of our work on soft skills training for female garment workers in India.
link | HBR, 2017
Early Childhood Health and Development in India: A Review of the Evidence and Recommendations for the Future
with Prashant Bharadwaj and Samuel Krumholz
We review the status of early childhood development in India and make recommendations for future policy focus, informed by theory and evidence on interventions that work around the world.
pdf | NCAER-Brookings India Policy Forum, 2017
Psychological distress in Ghana: associations with employment and lost productivity
with Maureen Canavan et al.
What is the economic incidence of mental health disorders?
published | International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2013, 7(9)