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Measuring and explaining management practices across firms and countries

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  • Nick Bloom
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

We use an innovative survey tool to collect management practice data from 732 medium sized manufacturing firms in the US, France, Germany and the UK. These measures of managerial practice are strongly associated with firm-level productivity, profitability, Tobin’s Q, sales growth and survival rates. Management practices also display significant cross-country differences with US firms on average better managed than European firms, and significant within-country differences with a long tail of extremely badly managed firms. We find that poor management practices are more prevalent when (a) product market competition is weak and/or when (b) family-owned firms pass management control down to the eldest sons (primo geniture). European firms report lower levels of competition, while French and British firms also report substantially higher levels of primo geniture due to the influence of Norman legal origin and generous estate duty for family firms. We calculate that product market competition and family firms account for about half of the long tail of badly managed firms and up to two thirds of the American advantage over Europe in management practices.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/733/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 733.

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Length: 72 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:733

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Keywords: Management practices; productivity; competition; family firms.;

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  1. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1043-1075, October.
  3. Bertrand, Marianne & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," Working papers 4280-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  8. Walter Novaes & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Bureaucracy as a Mechanism to Generate Information," CRSP working papers 477, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, 04.
  10. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  11. Richard Blundell & Stephen Bond, 2000. "GMM Estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 321-340.
  12. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Nielsen & Francisco Pérez-González & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2005. "Inside the Family Firm: The Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance," CIE Discussion Papers 2005-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics, revised Sep 2005.
  13. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
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