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Management practices, workforce selection and productivity

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  • Bender, Stefan
  • Bloom, Nicholas
  • Card, David
  • Reenen, John Van
  • Wolter, Stefanie

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bender, Stefan & Bloom, Nicholas & Card, David & Reenen, John Van & Wolter, Stefanie, 2016. "Management practices, workforce selection and productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66433, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:66433
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/66433/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Broszeit, Sandra & Fritsch, Ursula & Görg, Holger & Laible, Marie-Christine, 2016. "Management Practices and Productivity in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 10370, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Elizabeth Weber Handwerker & James R. Spletzer, 2015. "The Role of Establishments and the Concentration of Occupations in Wage Inequality," Working Papers 15-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Thibault Fally & Benjamin Faber, 2016. "Firm Heterogeneity in Consumption Baskets: Evidence from Home and Store Scanner Data," 2016 Meeting Papers 381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. repec:eee:ecolet:v:155:y:2017:i:c:p:80-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Åsa Johansson, 2016. "Public Finance, Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1346, OECD Publishing.
    6. Broszeit, Sandra & Fritsch, Ursula & Görg, Holger & Laible, Marie-Christine, 2016. "Management practices and productivity in Germany (Managementpraktiken und Produktivität in Deutschland)," IAB Discussion Paper 201632, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    7. Broszeit, Sandra & Laible, Marie-Christine, 2017. "Examining the link between health measures, management practices and establishment performance," IAB Discussion Paper 201726, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    8. Görg, Holger & Hanley, Aoife, 2017. "Firms’ global engagement and management practices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 80-83.
    9. Carsten Eckel & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2017. "Too Much of a Good Thing? Exporters, Multiproduct Firms and Labor Market Imperfections," NBER Working Papers 23834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Handwerker, Elizabeth & Spletzer, James R., 2015. "The Role of Establishments and the Concentration of Occupations in Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 9294, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Broszeit, Sandra & Fritsch, Ursula & Görg, Holger & Laible, Marie-Christine, 2016. "Management practices and productivity in Germany," Kiel Working Papers 2050, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    management practices; productivity; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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