In recent work, Shaw evaluates the importance of bosses in improving the productivity of their subordinates. She (and her co-authors) show that a good boss can markedly improve his subordinate’s productivity now and into the future as the worker moves on. Shaw has also developed an interest in entrepreneurship, showing that serial entrepreneurs develop intangible capital that they take with them as they move from their first firm to a new more productive firm. In earlier work that has been published in the American Economic Review and Management Science, she and her colleagues evaluate the effectiveness of complementary teamwork practices in the steel industry. She has also focused on the performance gains from new information technologies and the changes in management strategy towards product customization that enhance returns to investment. In related work on incentives in franchising, she shows how the optimal use of franchise contracts can increase brand value for franchise companies. Her research has been extensively funded by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Russell Sage and Rockefeller Foundations, and the Department of Labor.
In 2001, Shaw received the Columbia University award for the best paper on international business, and in 1998, she was honored as the recipient of the Minnesota Award for Employment Research for the best paper in 1997-98 on the topic of employment issues. She held a Stanford Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow in 2005-2006. She has been the recipient of the Xerox Research Chair, has served on a Research Panel of the NSF, and was an Editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics. At Carnegie Mellon University, Shaw received the Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence, the Economics Department Teaching Award, was Chair of the Faculty Senate and was Head of the Department of Industrial Management.