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Why is Productivity so Dispersed?

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  • Rachel Griffith
  • Jonathan Haskel
  • Andy Neely

Abstract

Many papers have documented wide variations in productivity even in narrowly defined industries. Some have argued that this primarily reflects measurement problems due, for example, to comparing across different products. Others argue that this reflects persistent differences in performance due, for example, to management. This paper looks at productivity differences not within an industry but within a firm. We use data on productivity of different branches within lines of business of a major UK-based wholesaler. Using these productivity data for comparisons is, we argue, more likely to compare like with like than comparing between firms. We document sustained differences in productivity even between branches within the same line of business. We also discuss the extent to which they are correlated with differences in management and find that such differences 'account' for around 40 per cent of the difference in productivity. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 22 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (Winter)
Pages: 513-525

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:22:y:2006:i:4:p:513-525

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Cited by:
  1. Alessio, Moro & Rodolfo, Stucchi, 2011. "Heterogeneous Productivity Shocks, Elasticity of Substitution and Aggregate Fluctuations," MPRA Paper 29032, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Paul-Antoine Chevalier & Rémy Lecat & Nicholas Oulton, 2009. "Convergence of Corporate Productivity, Globalization, Information Technologies, and Competition," Economie et Statistique, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, vol. 419, pages 101-124, August.
  3. Thomas Triebs & Subal C. Kumbhakar, 2012. "Management Practice in Production," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 129, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  4. Shutao Cao, 2008. "A Model of Costly Capital Reallocation and Aggregate Productivity," Working Papers 08-38, Bank of Canada.
  5. Nick Zubanov & W.S. Siebert, 2009. "Management economics in a large UK retailer," CPB Discussion Paper 125, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  6. Kauhanen, Antti & Roponen, Satu, 2010. "Productivity dispersion: A case study," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 97-100, June.
  7. Siebert, W. Stanley & Zubanov, Nikolay, 2008. "Management Economics in a Large Retail Organization," IZA Discussion Papers 3645, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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