The Productivity Effects of Human Resource Management Practices: Evidence from New Japanese Panel Data
This paper uses new Japanese panel data to estimate the impact of various human resource management practices (HRMP's) on productivity efficiency. These include information sharing devices, such as joint labor-management committees (JLMC's) and non-union employee associations (NUEA's), and financial participation schemes, such as profit sharing plans (PSP's) and employee stock ownership plans (ESOP's). By merging data from a new survey concerning HRMP's among publicly-held Japanese firms with two other public data resources, we create for the first time a enterprise-level panel data set for Japanese firms that provides information annually for 1970-85 on both information sharing and financial participation. The data are then used to estimate translog production functions augmented by variables to capture the effects of information sharing and financial participation. The estimations yield the first econometric evidence on the productivity effects of diverse HRMP's in Japan. The key findings include: (i) there are significant productivity-enhancing effects for JLMC's, NUEA's, PSP's and ESOP's; (ii) these productivity gains will change as HRMP's age. For instance, the introduction of a JLMC boosts productivity initially by 9 percent annually. The productivity gains rise over time and reach their highest point (11 percent) 23 years after the introduction of the JLMC. After their highest point, the productivity gains gradually diminish and eventually call for the implementation of a new innovation in information sharing; (iii) there is a significant complementarity between information sharing and PSP's; and (iv) the favorable productivity effects of information sharing are reinforced by the presence of formal trade unions, pointing to a complementarity between information sharing and unions.
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