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Modern Management: Good for the Environment or just Hot Air?

  • Nicholas Bloom
  • Christos Genakos
  • Ralf Martin
  • Raffaella Sadun

We use an innovative methodology to measure management practices in over 300 manufacturing firms in the UK. We then match this management data to production and energy usage information for establishments owned by these firms. We find that establishments in better managed firms are significantly less energy intensive. They use less energy per unit of output, and also in relation to other factor inputs. This is quantitatively substantial: going from the 25th to the 75th percentile of management practices is associated with a 17.4% reduction in energy intensity. This negative relationship is robust to a variety of controls for industry, location, technology and other factor inputs. Better managed firms are also significantly more productive. One interpretation of these results is that well managed firms are adopting modern lean manufacturing practices, which allows them to increase productivity by using energy more efficiently. This suggests that improving the management practices of manufacturing firms may help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14394.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Ralf Martin & Raffaella Sadun, 2010. "Modern Management: Good for the Environment or Just Hot Air?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 551-572, 05.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14394
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 12216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eli Berman & Linda T. M. Bui, 2001. "Environmental Regulation And Productivity: Evidence From Oil Refineries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 498-510, August.
  4. S Black & L Lynch, 1997. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0376, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Rachel Griffith, 1999. "Using the ARD establishment level data to look at foreign ownership and productivity in the UK," IFS Working Papers W99/06, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Bertrand, Marianne & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," Working papers 4280-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  7. Nick Bloom & Stephen Dorgan & John Dowdy & Tom Rippin & John Van Reenen, 2005. "Management Practices Across Firms and Nations," CEP Special Papers 17, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Christensen, Laurits R & Greene, William H, 1976. "Economies of Scale in U.S. Electric Power Generation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 655-76, August.
  9. Ralf Martin, 2005. "Productivity Dispersion, Competition and Productivity Measurement," CEP Discussion Papers dp0692, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Ann Bartel & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2007. "How Does Information Technology Affect Productivity? Plant-Level Comparisons of Product Innovation, Process Improvement, and Worker Skills," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1721-1758, November.
  11. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  12. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  13. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," NBER Working Papers 5067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bloom, Nicholas & Sadun, Raffaella & Van Reenen, John, 2007. "Americans Do I.T. Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle," CEPR Discussion Papers 6291, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Ronald Shadbegian & Wayne Gray, 2003. "Pollution Abatement Expenditures and Plant-Level Productivity: A Production Function Approach," Working Papers 03-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  16. David Neumark & Peter Cappelli, 1999. "Do "High Performance" Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 7374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  18. Michael Greenstone, 1998. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufacturers," Working Papers 787, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  19. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  20. Griffith, Rachel, 1999. "Using the ARD Establishment Level Data to Look at Foreign Ownership and Productivity in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F416-42, June.
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