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Management practices, workforce selection and productivity

Listed author(s):
  • Bender, Stefan
  • Bloom, Nicholas
  • Card, David
  • Reenen, John Van
  • Wolter, Stefanie

Recent research suggests that much of the cross-firm variation in measured productivity is due to differences in use of advanced management practices. Many of these practices – including monitoring, goal setting, and the use of incentives – are mediated through employee decision-making and effort. To the extent that these practices are complementary with workers’ skills, better-managed firms will tend to recruit higher-ability workers and adopt pay practices to retain these employees. We use a unique data set that combines detailed survey data on the management practices of German manufacturing firms with longitudinal earnings records for their employees to study the relationship between productivity, management, worker ability, and pay. As documented by Bloom and Van Reenen (2007) there is a strong partial correlation between management practice scores and firm-level productivity in Germany. In our preferred TFP estimates only a small fraction of this correlation is explained by the higher human capital of the average employee at better-managed firms. A larger share (about 13%) is attributable to the human capital of the highest-paid workers, a group we interpret as representing the managers of the firm. And a similar amount is mediated through the pay premiums offered by better-managed firms. Looking at employee inflows and outflows, we confirm that better-managed firms systematically recruit and retain workers with higher average human capital. Overall, we conclude that workforce selection and positive pay premiums explain just under 30% of the measured impact of management practices on productivity in German manufacturing.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/66433/
File Function: Open access version.
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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 66433.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2016
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:66433
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  2. Giulia Faggio & Kjell G. Salvanes & John Van Reenen, 2010. "The evolution of inequality in productivity and wages: panel data evidence," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(6), pages 1919-1951, December.
  3. Nicholas Bloom & Benn Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2013. "Does Management Matter? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 1-51.
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  13. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Long-Term Effects of UI Extensions on Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 514-519, May.
  14. Bauer, Thomas K. & Schmucker, Alexandra & Vorell, Mathias, 2008. "KMU und Arbeitsplatzdynamik : eine Analyse auf Basis der Beschäftigten-Historik-Datei," IAB Discussion Paper 200802, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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  20. Dorner, Matthias & Heining, Jörg & Jacobebbinghaus, Peter & Seth, Stefan, 2010. "Sample of Integrated Labour Market Biographies (SIAB) 1975-2008," FDZ Methodenreport 201009_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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  25. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-528, June.
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  27. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435.
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