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Are Pro-Reformers Better Performers?

  • Tim R.L. Fry

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Kelly Jarvis

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Joanne Loundes

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

There appears to be widespread consensus in industry and government that a switch from centralized bargaining to an enterprise based system benefits productivity. However, research suggests that the link between bargaining structures and worker productivity is dubious and that empirical research has been unable to discover a relationship between them. In this paper we use data from Australian companies at the enterprise level and examine the links between performance and a range of human resources, industrial relations and management variables to determine whether bargaining structures do impact on performance. In particular, we investigate whether organisations that have incorporated aspects of the industrial relations reform agenda have outperformed organisations that have not. The results from the application of a treatment effects regression model show evidence that organisations adopting the industrial relations reform agenda report significantly higher levels of self-assessed labour productivity relative to their competitors, even after controlling for a number of different factors.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2002n18.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2002n18
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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  1. Mark Wooden & Joanne Loundes, 2002. "Industrial Relations Reform and Business Performance: An Introduction," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Wadhwani, S. & Wall, M., 1988. "The Effects Of Profit-Sharing On Employment, Wages, Stock Returns And Productivity: Evidence From Uk Micro-Data," Papers 311, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  3. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 1997. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 6120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. M. Ishaq Nadiri, 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 4423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cable, John & Wilson, Nicholas, 1990. "Profit-Sharing and Productivity: Some Further Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 550-55, June.
  6. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "Complementarities and fit strategy, structure, and organizational change in manufacturing," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-208, April.
  7. Guyonne Kalb & Jenny Williams, 2002. "Industrial Relations Reform and Business Performance: An Introduction," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n04, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  9. Jorgenson, Dale W & Fraumeni, Barbara M, 1992. " Investment in Education and U.S. Economic Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages S51-70, Supplemen.
  10. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse, 1992. "Exploring the Relationship Between R&D and Productivity in French Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 3956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. William N. Cooke, 1990. "Factors influencing the effect of joint union-management programs on employee-supervisor relations," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(5), pages 587-603, July.
  12. Kruse, Douglas L, 1992. "Profit Sharing and Productivity: Microeconomic Evidence from the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 24-36, January.
  13. Cable, John & Wilson, Nicholas, 1989. "Profit-Sharing and Productivity: An Analysis of UK Engineering Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 366-75, June.
  14. Nadiri, M.I., 1993. "Innovations and Technological Spillovers," Working Papers 93-31, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  15. Paula B. Voos, 1987. "Managerial perceptions of the economic impact of labor relations programs," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(2), pages 195-208, January.
  16. Hawke, Anne & Wooden, Mark, 1998. "The Changing Face of Australian Industrial Relations: A Survey," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(224), pages 74-88, March.
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