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Does management matter?: evidence from India

  • Nick Bloom
  • Ben Eifert
  • Aprajit Mahajan
  • David McKenzie
  • John Roberts

A long-standing question in social science is to what extent differences in management cause differences in firm performance. To investigate this we ran a management field experiment on large Indian textile firms. We provided free consulting on modern management practices to a randomly chosen set of treatment plants and compared their performance to the control plants. We find that adopting these management practices had three main effects. First, it raised average productivity by 11 per cent through improved quality and efficiency and reduced inventory. Second, it increased decentralization of decision making, as better information flow enabled owners to delegate more decisions to middle managers. Third, it increased the use of computers, necessitated by the data collection and analysis involved in modern management. Since these practices were profitable this raises the question of why firms had not adopted these before. Our results suggest that informational barriers were a primary factor in explaining this lack of adoption. Modern management is a technology that diffuses slowly between firms, with many Indian firms initially unaware of its existence or impact. Since competition was limited by constraints on firm entry and growth, badly managed firms were not rapidly driven from the market.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/36366/
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 36366.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:36366
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Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 16019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372, November.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect Of Managers On Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Nick Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Americans Do I.T. Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle," CEP Discussion Papers dp0788, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Nick Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2009. "The Organization of Firms Across Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0937, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. 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.
  8. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," NBER Working Papers 11555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 1999. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," Working papers 99-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  12. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2005. "Learning about a new technology: pineapple in Ghana," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  13. Donald W.K. Andrews & Vadim Marmer, 2005. "Exactly Distribution-free Inference in Instrumental Variables Regression with Possibly Weak Instruments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1501, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 2350-90, October.
  16. McKenzie, David, 2009. "Impact assessments in finance and private sector development : what have we learned and what should we learn ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4944, The World Bank.
  17. McKenzie, David, 2012. "Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 210-221.
  18. Mariam Bruhn & Dean Karlan & Antoinette Schoar, 2012. "The Impact of Consulting Services on Small and Medium Enterprises: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Mexico," Working Papers 1010, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  19. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How common is workplace transformation and who adopts it?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  20. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2007. "Personnel Economics," NBER Working Papers 13480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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