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International Differences in the Adoption and Impact of New Information Technologies and New HR Practices: The Valve-Making Industry in the U.S. and U.K

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  • Ann Bartel
  • Casey Ichniowski
  • Kathryn Shaw
  • Ricardo Correa

Abstract

This paper compares the impact of new IT-enhanced technology on the efficiency of production in the U.S. and the U.K. for one manufacturing industry, valve manufacturing. There is a long-standing question of whether technological change and organizational changes have the same rates of adoption and impact internationally. We have assembled a unique dataset on plants in one narrowly defined industry -- valve manufacturing -- in both the U.S. and U.K to consider whether plants outside of the U.S. gain as much from IT as U.S. plants. We find that, despite differences in the current and historical patterns of institutions in the U.S. and U.K., both countries exhibit comparable patterns of gains to IT at the plant level. The impact of new IT-enhanced technology on the efficiency of production is virtually identical in the two countries. In addition, as a result of the adoption of the new technology, plants in both countries have shifted production to customized products. Finally, we find that, in both countries, the adoption of the new IT-enhanced technology coincides with increases in the skill requirements of machine operators, notably technical and problem-solving skills, and with the adoption of new human resource practices to support these skills.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13651.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Publication status: published as International Differences in the Adoption and Impact of New Information Technologies and New HR Practices: The Valve-Making Industry in the United States and United Kingdom , Ann Bartel, Casey Ichniowski, Kathryn L. Shaw, Ricardo Correa. in International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms , Freeman and Shaw. 2009
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13651

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  1. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, And The Demand For Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376, February.
  2. David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  3. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 12216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 2000. "The Impact of Information Technology on Emergency Health Care Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  6. 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.
  7. Brent Boning & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2007. "Opportunity Counts: Teams and the Effectiveness of Production Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 613-650.
  8. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  9. Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Information, Decisions, and Productivity: On-Board Computers and Capacity Utilization in Trucking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1328-1353, September.
  10. Ann Bartel & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2007. "How Does Information Technology Affect Productivity? Plant-Level Comparisons of Product Innovation, Process Improvement, and Worker Skills," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1721-1758, November.
  11. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 2002. "The Impact of Information Technology on Emergency Health Care Outcomes," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 399-432, Autumn.
  12. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2004. "Using "Insider Econometrics" to Study Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 217-223, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Chrysovalantou Milliou & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2009. "Timing of Technology Adoption and Product Market Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 2686, CESifo Group Munich.

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