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What's driving the new economy? The benefits of workplace innovation

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  • Sandra E. Black
  • Lisa M. Lynch

Abstract

Using a unique nationally representative sample of U.S. establishments surveyed in both 1993 and 1996, we examine the relationship between workplace innovations and establishment productivity and wages. Using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, we find evidence that high-performance workplace practices are associated with both higher productivity and higher wages. Specifically, we find a positive and significant relationship between the proportion of non-managers using computers and the productivity of establishments. We find that firms re-engineer their workplaces and incorporate` more high-performance practices experience higher productivity. For example, profit sharing is associated with increased productivity, and employee voice has a large positive effect on productivity when it is implemented in the context of unionized establishments. These workplace practices appear to explain a large part of the movement in multifactor productivity over the 1993-96 period. When we examine the determinants of wages within these establishments, we find that re-engineering a workplace to incorporate more high-performance practices leads to higher wages. However, increasing the usage of profit sharing results in lower regular pay for workers, especially technical workers and clerical/sales workers. Finally, increasing the percentage of workers meeting regularly in groups has a larger positive effect on wages in unionized establishments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 118.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:118

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Keywords: Wages ; Labor productivity ; Technology ; Labor unions;

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References

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  1. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  2. S Black & L Lynch, 1997. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0376, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters, in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "Complementarities and fit strategy, structure, and organizational change in manufacturing," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-208, April.
  6. Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-67, May.
  7. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: US Economic Growth in the Information Age," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 261, OECD Publishing.
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  9. Krueger, Alan B, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984-1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60, February.
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  13. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 1994. "Computers and Output Growth Revisited: How Big Is the Puzzle?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 273-334.
  14. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  15. Doms, Mark & Dunne, Timothy & Troske, Kenneth R, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-90, February.
  16. David Neumark & Peter Cappelli, 1999. "Do "High Performance" Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 7374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Casey Ichniowski, 1990. "Human Resource Management Systems and the Performance of U.S. Manufacturing Businesses," NBER Working Papers 3449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Brynjolfsson, Erik. & Hitt, Lorin M., 1993. "New Evidence on the returns of information systems," Working papers 162. Working paper (Sloan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  19. David Metcalf, 2002. "Unions and Productivity, Financial Performance and Investment: International Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0539, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  21. Stefano Scarpetta & Andrea Bassanini & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer, 2000. "Economic Growth in the OECD Area: Recent Trends at the Aggregate and Sectoral Level," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 248, OECD Publishing.
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  1. Socio-Economics of Innovation

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