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Tom Ahn, Jason Niven and Andrew Veilleux
''How long have you been waiting? Explaining the role of irrelevant information in the promotion of U.S. Navy officers''
( 2021, Vol. 41 No.2 )
While all information is potentially valuable to economic agents in making decisions, if there are acquisition and processing costs, they may choose to privilege cheaper information. This can be problematic when decisions, such as personnel evaluations for promotions, are important yet time sensitive. Using administrative data of U.S. Navy officers and exploiting a Department of Defense personnel policy change, we explore how removing information which reveals how many times a candidate has been judged for promotion in the past impacts current promotion boards' up-or-down decisions. We find that removal of this cheap information by hiding prior outcomes increases promotion chances of first-time as well as previously pass-over candidates, implying that promotion boards have relied on the judgement of future and past promotion boards in addition to processing relevant performance information.
Keywords: Promotion, Information, Learning
JEL: J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: General
J5 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining: General
Manuscript Received : Nov 23 2020 Manuscript Accepted : Apr 09 2021

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