The Economics of Working Environment


June 20, 2024

till June 21, 2024


Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters


CEPR, Dep. of Economics University of Copenhagen, NFA


Date: June 20 and 21 2024 (with an opening reception June 19th)
Venue: Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters


Call for Papers
Submission Deadline: February 15, 2024

We give preferences to full papers but will allow submission of extended abstracts too.
Papers shall be submitted to the conference email WEE2024@nfa.dk
Acceptance decisions will be send out by email March 1 2024.
Participants who wish to attend without papers and or volunteer to be discussants may also write to the email above. The maximum number of participants will be 80 people.

Conference Motivation and Themes:
The economics of working environment is a conference that aims at bringing together leading scholars from all around the world to study how organizational design and leadership impact the well-being of firms and their employees. The conference theme use the term employee well-being in a broad sense that encompasses firms’ ability to be internally sustainable, e.g., to protect employee mental and physical health, be gender neutral both in work culture and employee pay, attract talent, and reduce absenteeism.  Employee well-being is a first order issue for the society at whole: As an illustrative example, almost 7 pct of the private sector workforce takes prescription drugs aimed against stress and mental health challenges and 27 pct of employees report pain symptoms on a regular basis. Implications extend far beyond the workplace: mental health is a key factor for labor productivity and individual happiness and musculoskeletal pain is equally a major source of absence, low quality of life and treatment cost. We explore the role organizational design and leadership in mitigating these challenges.

Contribution and Scientific Perspective: There is increasing interest in the ways work-related factors affect employee well-being and mental health. Medical and psychosocial research have done important research in measuring work environment, how to improve physical work environment through ao defining limit values of chemical exposure, nanoparticles, dust and the ergonomics of jobs. It has studied the effects of work environment (e.g. job strain, long work hours, pay-for performance)  on employee outcomes such a heart diseases, drug use, chronical depression and leisure inactivity. Economic research on mental health has focused on person-specific or region-specific factors and less on workplace-specific factors. More broadly, researchers have also considered the effects of peers, economic circumstance and job loss/unemployment.  If existing research had fully identified the determinants of work environment, the variation across firms would be small. In reality, this variation is large supporting the idea that there are “missing” factors. Rooted in organizational economics, this conference explore if these missing factors are related to how we organize work and workplaces.

Potential themes may include:

  • Economic evaluation of interventions to improve the working environment
  • The costs to employers and employees of a sub-optimal working environment
  • The influence of the quality of working environment on the economic performance of organisations and corporations
  • Effects of work environment (for example job strain, long working hours, pay-for performance) on employee outcomes such a heart diseases, drug use, chronical depression, days of absence
  • Impact and costs of regulatory interventions of the working environment on the performance of the market
  • Rational behaviour of agents in the labour market related to designing a good working environment
  • Other topics of relevance to working environment economics


Key Note Speakers:

Professor Ghazala Azmat, Sciences Po and CEPR
Professor Guido Friebel, Goethe University Frankfurt and CEPR

Scientific Committee:
Mario Amore, HEC,  Bocconi and CEPR
Ghazala Azmat, Sciences Po and CEPR
Morten Bennedsen, University of Copenhagen, INSEAD and CEPR
Guido Friebel, Goethe University Frankurt and CEPR
Maria Guadalupe, INSEAD and CEPR
Daniela Scur, Cornell University and CEPR
Kristian Schultz Hansen, The National Research Center for Work Environment
Daniel Wolfenzon, Columbia University

Practical Information:
The conference takes place at the beautiful home of the Danish Royal Society of Science and Letters in the central Copenhagen. (Royal Academy)

The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences, H.C. Andersens Boulevard 35 COPENHAGEN.
Conference fee: Free of entry, participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

Conference hotels will be available at a reduced rate in a selection of hotels near the conference venue.
Hotel Alexandra
Scandic Spectrum
Copenhagen Island
Wakeup Bernstorffsgade

More information on travel and accommodation options will be presented at a later time on the website of The National Research Centre for the Working Environment.

Additional details related to dates and time:
19 June 2024 – from 15.00: Arrival of conference participants for drinks and sandwiches.
20 June 2024 – 09.00-18.00: Conference presentations and keynote speech. Conference dinner at 19.00.
21 June 2024 – 09.00-15.00: Conference presentations and keynote speech.

Local Organizing Committee
Morten Bennedsen (University of Copenhagen, INSEAD and CEPR)
Joachim Lynggaard Boll (The National Research Center for Work Environment)
Kristian Schultz Hansen (The National Research Center for Work Environment)

About the Key Note Speakers:
Professor Ghazala Azmat, Sciences Po and CEPR:
Ghazala Azmat holds a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics and is currently Professor of Economics at Sciences Po in Paris, France. Her research interests are in the fields of labour and organizational economics, as well as the economics of education. Dr Ghazala has worked extensively on gender inequality in the workplace and the role played by the environment in shaping an individuals’ goals and expectations, and their long-term implications. She was recently awarded an ERC Consolidator grant, which studies the educational constraints faced by individuals at a stage when they are planning their future investments in human capital. Dr Ghazala has published articles in the leading journals including, the Journal of Political Economy, Management Science, and Journal of European Economic Association. Dr Ghazala is a junior member of the Institut Universitaire de France, a Research Associate at the CEP (LSE), a Research Fellow at CEPR, CESifo, and IZA. She is the Co-Director of the CEPR Organizational Economics (OE) Group and an editorial board member of American Economic Journal: Policy and Economica. Previously, she was a managing editor of Economic Policy, and co-editor of Labour Economics. She has a growing amount of experience within the realm of public policy, for instance, as Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee on their inquiry on the gender pay gap and as a member of the French Ministry of Economics’ committee for education, training, and skills.

Professor Guido Friebel, Goethe University Frankfurt and CEPR:
Guido Friebel is a Professor of Human Resources at Goethe University in Frankfurt. His research was published in leading journals like the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Journal:Micro, Journal of Labor Economics, PNAS, Economic Journal and many others. His main field is organizational and personnel economics, carrying out randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with and within firms, with a view to increase both productivity and worker welfare and to test important theories. He also analyzes observational career and promotion data and contributes to theories of careers and talent management. His second interest is how institutions shape the accumulation and allocation of human capital, focusing on problems of families, gender, and migration. He is President of the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, a fellow at CEPR and IZA, a founding member of the Organizational Economics Committee of the German Economic Association, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Sciences Po, and of ConTrust at Goethe University. He is also Scientific Director of CLBO and a project leader at the Rockwool Foundation in Berlin. Before joining Goethe, he graduated with a Ph.D. from ULB in Brussels and held positions at the Toulouse School of Economics and at SITE, Stockholm School of Economics.


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