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Managers and Productivity Differences

Author

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  • Guner, Nezih
  • Parkhomenko, Andrii
  • Ventura, Gustavo

Abstract

We document that for a group of high-income countries (i) mean earnings of managers tend to grow faster than for non managers over the life cycle; (ii) the earnings growth of managers relative to non managers over the life cycle is positively correlated with output per worker. We interpret this evidence through the lens of an equilibrium life-cycle, span-of-control model where managers invest in their skills. We parameterize this model with U.S. observations on managerial earnings, the size-distribution of plants and macroeconomic aggregates. We then quantify the relative importance of exogenous productivity differences, and the size-dependent distortions emphasized in the misallocation literature. Our findings indicate that such distortions are critical to generate the observed differences in the growth of relative managerial earnings across countries. Thus, observations on the relative earnings growth of managers become natural targets to discipline the level of distortions. Distortions that halve the growth of relative managerial earnings (a move from the U.S. to Italy in our data), lead to a reduction in managerial quality of 27% and to a reduction in output of about 7% – more than half of the observed gap between the U.S. and Italy. We find that crosscountry variation in distortions accounts for about 42% of the cross-country variation in output per worker gap with the U.S.

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  • Guner, Nezih & Parkhomenko, Andrii & Ventura, Gustavo, 2015. "Managers and Productivity Differences," CEPR Discussion Papers 11012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11012
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    6. Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Trade and productivity: The family connection redux," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 276-291.
    7. Stephen Ayerst, 2016. "Idiosyncratic Distortions and Technology Adoption," Working Papers tecipa-571, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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    9. Fabiano Schivardi & Tom Schmitz, 2020. "The IT Revolution and Southern Europe’s Two Lost Decades [Lack of Selection and Limits to Delegation: Firm Dynamics in Developing Countries]," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(5), pages 2441-2486.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    distortions; management practices; managers; productivity differences; size; skill investments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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