IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Americans Do I.T. Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle

  • Nick Bloom
  • Raffaella Sadun
  • John Van Reenen

The US has experienced a sustained increase in productivity growth since the mid-1990s, particularly in sectors that intensively use information technologies (IT). This has not occurred in Europe. If the US "productivity miracle" is due to a natural advantage of being located in the US then we would not expect to see any evidence of it for US establishments located abroad. This paper shows in fact that US multinationals operating in the UK do have higher productivity than non-US multinationals in the UK, and this is primarily due to the higher productivity of their IT. Furthermore, establishments that are taken over by US multinationals increase the productivity of their IT, whereas observationally identical establishments taken over by non-US multinationals do not. One explanation for these patterns is that US firms are organized in a way that allows them to use new technologies more efficiently. A model of endogenously chosen organizational form and IT is developed to explain these new micro and macro findings.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0788.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0788
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The resurgence of growth in the late 1990s: is information technology the story?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  3. Mark Doms & Wendy E. Dunn & Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2003. "How fast do personal computers depreciate? concepts and new estimates," Working Paper Series 2003-20, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  5. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
  6. 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.
  7. Eve Caroli & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Skill-Biased Organizational Change? Evidence From A Panel Of British And French Establishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1449-1492, November.
  8. Nick Bloom, 2006. "The impact of uncertainty shocks: firm level estimation and a 9/11 simulation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19867, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1339-1382 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  11. Haltiwanger, John & Jarmin, Ron & Schank, Thorsten, 2003. "Productivity, investment in ICT and market experimentation: micro evidence from Germany und the US," Discussion Papers 19, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  12. Chiara Criscuolo & Ralf Martin, 2005. "Multinationals and US Productivity Leadership: Evidence from Great Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0672, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-61, July-Aug..
  14. Stephen Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded Versus Privately Held Firms," Working Papers 06-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408, November.
  16. Mark E. Doms & J . Bradford Jensen, 1998. "Comparing Wages, Skills, and Productivity between Domestically and Foreign-Owned Manufacturing Establishments in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Geography and Ownership as Bases for Economic Accounting, pages 235-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Laura Abramovsky & Rachel Griffith, 2009. "ICT, corporate restructuring and productivity," IFS Working Papers W09/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  18. Robert C. Feenstra & Christopher R. Knittel, 2009. "Re-Assessing the U.S. Quality Adjustment to Computer Prices: The Role of Durability and Changing Software," NBER Chapters, in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 129-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The Case of the Missing Productivity Growth: Or, Does Information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2021, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  20. Robert J. Gordon, 2004. "Why was Europe Left at the Station When America's Productivity Locomotive Departed?," NBER Working Papers 10661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Timmer, Marcel P. & Ypma, Gerard & Ark, Bart van der, 2003. "IT in the European Union: driving productivity divergence?," GGDC Research Memorandum 200363, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  22. repec:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:4:p:1449-1492 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1443-1479 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Larry W. Hunter & Annette Bernhardt & Katherine L. Hughes & Eva Skuratowicz, 2000. "It's Not Just the ATMs: Technology, Firm Strategies, Jobs, and Earnings in Retail Banking," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  25. Bloom, Nicholas & Bond, Stephen Roy & Van Reenen, John, 2003. "Uncertainty and Company Investment Dynamics: Empirical Evidence for UK Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4025, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
  27. Benfratello, Luigi & Sembenelli, Alessandro, 2006. "Foreign ownership and productivity: Is the direction of causality so obvious?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 733-751, July.
  28. Brynjolfsson, Erik & Hitt, Lorin M., 2004. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," Working papers 4210-01, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  29. Christopher J. Gust & Jaime R. Marquez, 2002. "International comparisons of productivity growth: the role of information technology and regulatory practices," International Finance Discussion Papers 727, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  30. Chris Forman & Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein, 2009. "The Internet and Local Wages: Convergence or Divergence?," NBER Working Papers 14750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. repec:oup:restud:v:58:y:1991:i:2:p:277-97 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," NBER Working Papers 10310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U. S. Economy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1911, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  34. Crespi, Gustavo & Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan, 2007. "Information Technology, Organisational Change and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6105, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  35. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:4:p:1351-1408 is not listed on IDEAS
  36. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002. "Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1559-1576, December.
  37. repec:oup:restud:v:69:y:2002:i:1:p:245-76 is not listed on IDEAS
  38. 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.
  39. repec:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:1:p:339-376 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Americans Do IT Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle (AER 2012) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0788. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.