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2019

“Is the U.S. Market for Truck Drivers Broken?”

This paper examines the structure of the overall truck driver labor market using nationally representative data from the US government, and focuses on the evidence about movements into and out of the occupation of heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver. It finds that the market for truck drivers works about as well as those for other blue-collar occupations, and that truckers come from, and leave to, occupations that make sense, and that occupational changes respond to economic incentives in the expected manner. It suggests that the primary source of the industry view that there is a long-term shortage of drivers is the fact that one part of the industry (long distance truckload) which employs about a fifth of all drivers of heavy trucks, has persistently high turnover at the level of firms (as opposed to changes of occupation), due to special conditions that require a separate analysis.

(This paper is a shorter version of the Institute for Labor Economics (IZA) Discussion Paper 11813, September, 2018, listed under “work in progress” below.)

S. Burks and K. Monaco, Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March, 2019

Download link: https://doi.org/10.21916/mlr.2019.5 .      

2016

“Toward the Integration of Personality Theory and Decision Theory in the Explanation of Economic Behavior”

A paper using data on trainee truckers to examine the relationships between personality factors and economic preferences (risk and time preferences) and to then compare how both sets of characteristics do in predicting trucker outcomes such as body mass index, smoking behavior, credit score, job persistence, and heavy truck crashes.

A. Rustichini, C. DeYoung, J. Anderson, and S. Burks, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Vol. 64, October, 2016, pp. 122-137.

Journal web page for this article

Downloadable working paper version: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Discussion Paper #6750

“Non-Adherence with Employer-Mandated Sleep Apnea Treatment and Increased Risk of Serious Truck Crashes”

A paper analyzing the relationship between adherence to sleep apnea treatment among drivers with this disease and the driver's risk of having a preventable "DOT-reportable" (i.e. serious) crash, in the context of a trucking firm's internal program to screen, diagnose, and treat sleep apnea.

S.V. Burks, J.E. Anderson, M. Bombyk (UMM ’10), R. Haider (UMM ’13), D. Ganzhorn (UMM ’08), X. Jiao (UMM ’12), C. Lewis (UMM ’15), A. Lexvold (UMM ’13), H. Liu (UMM ’14), J. Ning (UMM ’14), A. Toll (UMM ’14), J.S. Hickman, E. Mabry, M. Berger, A .Malhotra, C.A. Czeisler, and S.N. Kales. Sleep, Vol 39, No. 5 (May), 2016, pp. 967-975.

PubMed webpage for this article (full text freely available)

 

DOCUMENTARY VIDEO

The results of this paper, along with some comments on the work life of truck drivers by Prof. Burks, are featured in a documentary about sleep apnea in truckers made by Sarah Moon, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and released on YouTube in April, 2018: "Sleepers"

2015

“Cognitive Skills, Personality, and Economic Preferences in Collegiate Success”

A paper based on following the UMM student control group for the large sample of truckers using the protocol described in the 2008 paper “Using Behavioral Economic Field Experiments at a Large Firm.”

Stephen V. Burks, C. Lewis (UMM ’15), P. Kivi, A. Wiener (UMM ’15), J. Anderson, L. Götte, C. DeYoung, and A. Rustichini. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Vol. 115, (July), 2015, pages 30-44.

Journal webpage for this article (full text freely available)

“The Value of Hiring through Employee Referrals”

A paper about employee referrals using data from three industries, including trucking.

S.V. Burks, B. Cowgill, M. Hoffman, and M. Housman. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 130, Issue 2 (May), 2015, pages 805-839.

Journal webpage for this article

2013

“Overconfidence and Social Signalling”

A paper about overconfidence based on two cognitive skills tests taken by 1,016 trainee truckers and estimates of their personal performance on the tests made by the truckers.

S.V. Burks, J. Carpenter, L. Götte, and A. Rustichini, in Review of Economic Studies Vol. 80, Issue 3 (July), 2013, pages 949-983.

Journal web page for this article

“Self-Selection and Variations in the Laboratory Measurement of Other-Regarding Preferences across Subject Pools: Evidence from One College Student and Two Adult Samples”

A paper comparing the behavior of trainee truckers to that of two control groups—UMM students and Morris-area adults—in an experiment measuring the willingness to cooperate with anonymous others at a net financial cost to oneself.

Winner of the Editor's Award for best paper published in Experimental Economics in 2013.

J. Anderson, S. Burks, J. Carpenter, L. Götte, K. Maurer (UMM ’09), Daniele Nosenzo, Ruth Potter (UMM ’12), Kim Rocha (UMM ’11), and Aldo Rustichini, in Experimental Economics, Vol. 16, Issue 2 (June), 2013, pp. 170-89.

Journal web page for this article (full text freely available)

2012

“Obesity is Associated with the Future Risk of Heavy Truck Crashes among Newly Recruited Commercial Drivers”

A paper analyzing the relationship between the body mass index (BMI) of trainee truckers and their risk of a vehicle accident on the job, controlling for demographic characteristics and for operational factors that affect the exposure to risk.

J. Anderson, S. Burks, M. Govada (UMM ’12), T. Steffen (UMM ’11), C. Thorne (UMM ’11) , S. Kales, and V. Varvarigou, in Accident Analysis and Prevention, (November, 2012).

Journal web page for this article (full text freely available)

“Big Truckers Run Bigger Risks,” story about this paper on the news web page of the journal Science

“Which Measures of Time Preference Best Predict Outcomes? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment”

A paper comparing four different methods of measuring the willingness to wait for a higher future payment with respect their ability to predict several outcomes for driver trainees: body mass index, smoking status, credit score, and persistence on the job.

S. Burks, J. Carpenter, L. Götte, A. Rustichini, in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Volume 84, Issue 1, (September, 2012), pp. 308-320.

Journal web page for this article (full text freely available)

2009

“Cognitive Skills Affect Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment”

A paper on the relationship between the cognitive skills of truckers and their economic preferences, their social perceptions and behavior, and their job success.

S.V. Burks, J. Carpenter, L. Götte, and A. Rustichini, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, May 12, 2009; 106(19), 7745-7750.

PNAS webpage (full text freely available)

Supporting online appendix

2008

“Using Behavioral Economic Field Experiments at a Large Firm: the Context and Design of the Truckers and Turnover Project”

A rather long paper describing the industry context, the research questions, and the research design of the project. A link to a working paper version of this document is provided below.

S. V. Burks, J. Carpenter, L. Götte, K. Monaco, K. Porter (UMM ’05), and A. Rustichini, in The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, S. Bender, J. Lane, K. Shaw, F. Andersson, and T. Von Wachter (editors), NBER, University of Chicago Press (2008), 44-106.

Abstract for this paper

Downloadable working paper version: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn Discussion Paper #2789

THE PROJECT PERIODICALLY ISSUES WORK IN PROGRESS IN THE FORM OF WORKING PAPERS

2018

“Is the Labor Market for Truck Drivers Broken? An Empirical Analysis Using Nationally Representative Data”

S. Burks and K. Monaco

This paper examines the structure of the overall truck driver labor market using nationally representative data from the US government, and focuses on the evidence about movements into and out of the occupation of heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver. It finds that while truckers haven’t done any better than other blue collar workers since 2000, the market for their services works about as well, and that truckers come from, and leave to, occupations that make sense, and that occupational changes respond to economic incentives in the expected manner.

Released as Discussion Paper #11813 by the Institute for Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn, DE, in September, 2018.

Abstract and download link here: https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/11813/is-the-us-labor-market-for-tru...

 

“Is the Labor Market for Truck Drivers Broken, and Will Autonomous Trucks Fix It?”

S. Burks,  K. Monaco, and A. Kildegaard.

This paper examines the structure of the overall truck driver labor market in government data, and then focuses on the specific features of the segment of the market for drivers at long distance truckload (TL) motor carriers, presenting a model of TL motor carrier cost minimization, and applying that model to the question of what the introduction of autonomous trucks at different levels of automation might mean in the truck driver labor market. Presented at the 59th Annual Transportation Research Forum, Minneapolis, MN, April 11, 2018.

Abstract and download link available here

 

2016

“Lab Measures of Other-Regarding Preferences Can Predict Some Related on-the-Job Behavior: Evidence from a Large Scale Field Experiment”

A paper examining whether the willingness of trainee truckers to engage in costly pro-social behavior measured in a laboratory predicts costly pro-social behavior in two settings with similar material incentives on the job.

S. Burks, J. Anderson, M. Bombyk (UMM ’10), J. Carpenter, D. Ganzhorn (UMM ’08), L. Götte, D. Nosenzo, and A. Rustichini

Abstract for this paper

Downloadable version: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) Discussion Paper #9769

RELATED PUBLICATIONS BY PROJECT PARTICIPANTS

“Driver Selection Tests & Measurements”

A report summarizing current industry practices in motor transportation and reviewing the relevant academic literature with respect to the effects of driver selection on commercial vehicle safety, for a program of the Transportation Research Board.

R. Knipling, K. Starner (UMM ’10), C. Thorne (UMM ’10), and M. Barnes (UMM ’10), Commercial Truck & Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) Synthesis 21, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, January, 2012

Pdf of this report

“Safety Management in Small Motor Carriers”

A report summarizing current industry practices in motor transportation and reviewing the relevant academic literature with respect to commercial vehicle safety in small motor carriers, for a program of the Transportation Research Board.

R. Knipling and K. Nelson (UMM ’13), Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) Synthesis #22, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, January, 2012.

Pdf of this report

“Trucking 101: An Industry Primer”

A report produced by the Transportation Research Board’s standing technical Committee AT060, Trucking Industry Research, designed to introduce non-specialists to the structure of the modern U.S. trucking industry.

S. Burks, M. Belzer, Q. Kwon, S. Pratt, and S. Shackelford, Research Circular Number E-C146, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC, December, 2010.

Pdf for this report

Truckers & Turnover Project