Productivity, Capital and Labor in Labor-Managed and Conventional Firms
Despite a continuing interest in the compared efficiency of labor-managed and conventional firms, only a handful of comparative empirical studies exist. These studies suggest that labor-managed firms have the same productivity levels as conventional ones, but organize production differently. However, the data used in these studies cover a single industry, or firms matched by industry and size in manufacturing, and concern a few dozen firms. In addition, the use of constant-elasticity production functions in past studies has made it difficult to distinguish the effects of incentives embodied in the factors of production from those of scale differences that could be caused by the differences in factor demand behavior between conventional and labor-managed firms hypothesized by economic theory. The paper compares the productivity of labor-managed and conventional firms using two new panel data sets covering several thousand firms from France, including representative samples of conventional firms and all worker cooperatives with 20 employees or more in manufacturing and services. We present Generalized Least Squares (GLS) and Generalized Moments Method (GMM) estimations of translog production functions industry by industry for cooperative and conventional firms and test for the equality of their total factor productivities. We also allow systematic differences in scale and technology to be determined by the ownership form. The translog specification, which allows returns to scale to vary with input levels, makes it possible to disentangle embodied incentive effects from systematic differences in scale due to underinvestment in labor-managed firms. In the process, we also propose updated "stylized facts" about labor-managed firms in comparison with conventional firms. Our production function estimates suggest that cooperatives are at least as productive as conventional firms. However, the two types of firms organize production differently. Cooperatives are more X-efficient, i.e., they use their capital and labour more effectively, than conventional firms. With their current levels of inputs, cooperatives produce at least as much with the technology they have chosen as they would if they were using conventional firms' technology. In contrast, in several industries conventional firms would produce more with their current inputs if they were organizing production as cooperatives do. In all industries and in both data sets, both types of firms would produce at constant or decreasing returns to scale if they were using the same technology at their current input levels, and we find no evidence that returns to scale are systematically higher in cooperatives. Contrary to received wisdom, descriptive statistics indicate that workers' cooperatives are not always smaller or less capitalized than conventional firms, and grow at least as fast as conventional firms in all the industries studied.
|Date of creation:||2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Note:||View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00838518|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/|
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.:
- Findlay, Ronald & Jones, Ronald, 2000. "Factor bias and technical progress," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 303-308, September.
- Ben-ner, Avner, 1988. "The life cycle of worker-owned firms in market economies : A theoretical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 287-313, October.
- Conte, Michael A. & Svejnar, Jan, 1988. "Productivity effects of worker participation in management, profit-sharing, worker ownership of assets and unionization in U.S. firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 139-151, March.
- M Arellano & O Bover, 1990.
"Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models,"
CEP Discussion Papers
dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
- Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
- John Pencavel & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2006.
"Wages, Employment, and Capital in Capitalist and Worker-Owned Firms,"
Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 23-44, October.
- Pencavel, John & Pistaferri, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2006. "Wages, Employment, and Capital in Capitalist and Worker-Owned Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 2188, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Addison, John T., 2005.
"The Determinants of Firm Performance: Unions, Works Councils, and Employee Involvement/High Performance Work Practices,"
IZA Discussion Papers
1620, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- John T. Addison, 2005. "The Determinants of Firm Performance: Unions, Works Councils, and Employee Involvement/High Performance Work Practices," GEMF Working Papers 2005-03, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
- Wagner, Joachim & Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Schank, Thorsten, 2004. "Works Councils, Labor Productivity and Plant Heterogeneity: Evidence from Quantile Regressions," IZA Discussion Papers 1414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Pencavel, John & Craig, Ben, 1994. "The Empirical Performance of Orthodox Models of the Firm: Conventional Firms and Worker Cooperatives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 718-44, August.
- Ben-Ner, Avner, 1988. "Comparative empirical observations on worker-owned and capitalist firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 7-31, March.
- FitzRoy, Felix & Kraft, Kornelius, 2004.
"Co-Determination, Efficiency, and Productivity,"
IZA Discussion Papers
1442, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Richard Blundell & Stephen Bond, 2000.
"GMM Estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions,"
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 321-340.
- Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1999. "GMM estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," IFS Working Papers W99/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Chris Doucouliagos, 1995. "Worker Participation and Productivity in Labor-Managed and Participatory Capitalist Firms: A Meta-Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(1), pages 58-77, October.
- Ahn, Seung C. & Schmidt, Peter, 1995. "Efficient estimation of models for dynamic panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 5-27, July.
- Miyazaki, Hajime, 1984. "On Success and Dissolution of the Labor-Managed Firm in the Capitalist Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 909-31, October.
- Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-105, December.
- Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2007. "Paying Respect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 135-150, Fall.
- Virginie Pe´rotin & Andrew Robinson, 2000. "Employee Participation and Equal Opportunities Practices: Productivity Effect and Potential Complementarities," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 557-583, December.
- Estrin, Saul & Jones, Derek C. & Svejnar, Jan, 1987. "The productivity effects of worker participation: Producer cooperatives in western economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 40-61, March.
- Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991.
"Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
- Tom Doan, . "RATS program to replicate Arellano-Bond 1991 dynamic panel," Statistical Software Components RTZ00169, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Berman, Katrina V. & Berman, Matthew D., 1989. "An empirical test of the theory of the labor-managed firm," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-300, June.
- Perotin, Virginie, 2006. "Entry, exit, and the business cycle: Are cooperatives different?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 295-316, June.
- Ornella Maietta & Vania Sena, 2004. "Profit-sharing, Technical Efficiency Change and Finance Constraints," Microeconomics 0405006, EconWPA.
- John T. Addison, 2005. "THE DETERMINANTS OF FIRM PERFORMANCE: UNIONS, WORKS COUNCILS, AND EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT/HIGH-PERFORMANCE WORK PRACTICES," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(3), pages 406-450, 07.
- Bonin, John P & Jones, Derek C & Putterman, Louis, 1993. "Theoretical and Empirical Studies of Producer Cooperatives: Will Ever the Twain Meet?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1290-320, September.
- Jerome P. Reiter & Elaine L. Zanutto & Larry W. Hunter, 2005. "Analytical Modeling in Complex Surveys of Work Practices," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(1), pages 82-100, October.
- Estrin, Saul, 1991. "Some reflections on self-management, social choice, and reform in eastern europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 349-366, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00838518. 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: (CCSD)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.