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Does Management Matter? Evidence from India

Listed author(s):
  • Nicholas Bloom
  • Benn Eifert
  • Aprajit Mahajan
  • David McKenzie
  • John Roberts

A long-standing question is whether differences in management practices across firms can explain differences in productivity, especially in developing countries where these spreads appear particularly large. To investigate this, we ran a management field experiment on large Indian textile firms. We provided free consulting on management practices to randomly chosen treatment plants and compared their performance to a set of control plants. We find that adopting these management practices raised productivity by 17% in the first year through improved quality and efficiency and reduced inventory, and within three years led to the opening of more production plants. Why had the firms not adopted these profitable practices previously? Our results suggest that informational barriers were the primary factor explaining this lack of adoption. Also, because reallocation across firms appeared to be constrained by limits on managerial time, competition had not forced badly managed firms to exit. JEL Codes: L2, M2, O14, O32, O33. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjs044
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 128 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-51

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:1:p:1-51
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  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. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
  5. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0982, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  7. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics Princeton University Press.
  8. McKenzie, David, 2011. "Beyond baseline and follow-up : the case for more t in experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5639, The World Bank.
  9. Nicholas Bloom & Raffaella Sadun, 2012. "The Organization of Firms Across Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1663-1705.
  10. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2007. "Returns to capital in microenterprises : evidence from a field experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4230, The World Bank.
  11. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2010. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 35-69, March.
  12. Andrews, Donald W.K. & Marmer, Vadim, 2008. "Exactly distribution-free inference in instrumental variables regression with possibly weak instruments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 183-200, January.
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  14. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How Common is Workplace Transformation and Who Adopts it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  15. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017.
  16. Bruhn, Miriam & Karlan, Dean & Schoar, Antoinette, 2013. "The impact of consulting services on small and medium enterprises: evidence from a randomized trial in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6508, The World Bank.
  17. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-2390, October.
  18. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," NBER Working Papers 10501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
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  22. Martin Valdivia & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," Working Papers 941, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  23. David McKenzie, 2010. "Impact Assessments in Finance and Private Sector Development: What Have We Learned and What Should We Learn?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 25(2), pages 209-233, August.
  24. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
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