University of Minnesota Morris

Truckers & Turnover Project

  • Trucks
  • Conner Lewis and Jiachen Ning

    Amanda Wiener ’14 and Connor Lewis ’15 explained their work to UMM Chancellor Jacquie Johnson at the 2014 UMM Undergraduate Research Symposium

  • Becca Haider, Hong Liu, and Jiachen Ning

    Research Coordinator Rebecca Haider ’13 works with Hong Liu ’14 and Jiachen Ning ‘14

  • Nick Solberg ’15 and Nicole Sandback ’15

    Nick Solberg ’15 and Nicole Sandback ’15 on their way to the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Washington to present parts of their research on medical and pharmaceutical costs of truck drivers.

  • Joe Beaver

    Duan Lui ‘16, Natalie Hughes ‘16, and Dasha Pokutnaya ‘17 discuss findings at the 2016 Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities

  • 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research

    From the front of the lab, Joe Beaver (UMM Anthropology and Computer Science) manages a data collection event with UMM students

  • Amanda Wiener

    Amanda Wiener ‘15, Nicole Sandback ‘15, Research Coordinator Rebecca Haider ’13, and Nick Solberg ‘15, at the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research

  • Amanda Wiener and Conner Lewis

    Resa Brockman ‘16 coding Stata commands at the Truckers and Turnover office

  • Amanda Wiener and Conner Lewis

    Research Coordinator Rebecca Haider ‘13, UMM psychology Professor Cheryl Stewart, and Resa Brockman ‘16 prepare for multi-hour data collection with UMM students

Truckers & Turnover and Associated Research Project

The Truckers & Turnover Project is a multi-year study in the field of “behavioral personnel economics” conducted by a team of University of Minnesota, Morris faculty and students, and faculty at other institutions, in cooperation with several motor carriers.

The cooperating firms operate in the “truckload” (TL) segment of the trucking industry. Long haul TL trucking is a high-turnover occupation, and thousands of people train for this job every year, try it out, and leave, while relatively few stay on.

Project researchers have worked with data from study firms along with new data collected by the project to identify the factors that predict productivity, retention, crash risk, and other on-the-job outcomes for truckers.

A distinctive part of the project has been its use of behavioral economic field experiments conducted by the researchers at a company training site with trainee truckers who were learning how to handle a big rig for the first time. A second part of the project has been a large statistical case study based on the operational and human resource data from participating firms. More recently the project has begun to focus on the relationship between medical conditions and individual trucker outcomes.

The project implements an idea that Dr. Burks, the organizer, has been urging for several years: that economists who do behavioral economic field experiments should work together with academics specializing in the manner encouraged by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation “industry studies” program, who focus on gathering new data and doing targeted analyses of individual industries.

Project History

Initial work with the first cooperating firm began in 2002. The current larger-scale project has been under way since 2005, and is expected to continue for several more years as of 2014.