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Productivity, Machinery and Skills in a Sample of British and German Manufacturing Plants


  • A. Daly
  • D.M.W.N. Hitchens
  • K. Wagner

    (Technical University, Berlin, and a consultant at the National Institute)


On the basis of interviews with management and factory floor employees at 45 matched firms in Britain and West Germany, this article examines the roles of machinery and workforce skills in explaining comparative produc tivity performance. The average age of British machinery was not very different from that found in German plants, but it was less technically advanced, was subject to more frequent breakdowns and breakdowns took longer to correct. Productivity was higher in Germany in each of our matched product groups and the importance of skills at all levels was apparent.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Daly & D.M.W.N. Hitchens & K. Wagner, 1985. "Productivity, Machinery and Skills in a Sample of British and German Manufacturing Plants," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 111(1), pages 48-61, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:111:y:1985:i:1:p:48-61

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabszewicz, J. & Turrini, A., 2000. "Workers' skills, product quality and industry equilibrium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 575-593, May.
    2. Dearden, Lorraine & Reed, Howard & Van Reenen, John, 2000. "Who Gains when Workers Train? Training and Corporate Productivity in a Panel of British Industries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Charles Bean & James Symons, 1989. "Ten Years of Mrs. T," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 13-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lutz, Stefan & Turrini, Alessandro, 1999. "Skills, labour costs and vertically differentiated industries: A general equilibrium analysis," ZEI Working Papers B 26-1999, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    5. Jean Gabszewicz & Alessandro Turrini, 1999. "Workers' Skills and Product Selection," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 50(3), pages 383-391.
    6. Jason Heyes, 1996. "A Formula for Success? Training, Reward and Commitment in a Chemicals Plant," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 34(3), pages 351-369, September.
    7. Young Bong Chang & Vijay Gurbaxani, 2013. "An Empirical Analysis of Technical Efficiency: The Role of IT Intensity and Competition," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 24(3), pages 561-578, September.
    8. Carlo Jaeger, 2014. "Choice for China: What Role for Vocational Education in Green Growth?," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 22(5), pages 55-75, September.
    9. Hitchens, D. M. W. N. & Birnie, J. E. & Wagner, K., 1996. "A matched plant comparison of productivity in East and West Germany: Transition to the market economy," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 321-335, June.
    10. Pilat, Dirk, 1995. "Comparative productivity of Korean manufacturing, 1967-1987," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 123-144, February.
    11. Lindner, Axel, 1998. "Modelling the German system of vocational education," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 411-423, December.
    12. Hitchens, David M. W. N., 1999. "The implications for competitiveness of environmental regulations for peripheral regions in the E.U," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 101-114, February.
    13. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1997. "Quality and trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-15, June.
    14. Enda Hannon, 2016. "Industrial policy and employment in the UK: evidence from the pharmaceutical sector," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 2-20, January.
    15. Steffen, Wolfgang & Stephan, Johannes, 2007. "The Role of the Human Capital and Managerial Skills in Explaining the Productivity Gaps between East and West," IWH Discussion Papers 11/2007, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    16. Quack, Sigrid & O'Reilly, Jacqueline & Hildebrandt, Swen, 1995. "New patterns of recruitment and training in German, UK and French banks: An examination of the tensions between sectoral and national systems," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Organization and Employment FS I 95-101, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    17. Mario Bourgault & Élisabeth Lefebvre & Louis A. Lefebvre, 1994. "Critical Capabilities and Performance of the Small Subcontracting Firms in the Aerospace Industry," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-13, CIRANO.

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