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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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14394.pdf
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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
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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
Note: EEE LS PR
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. 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.
  2. Peter Cappelli & David Neumark, 2001. "Do "high-performance" work practices improve establishment-level outcomes?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 737-775, July.
  3. Michael Greenstone, 2002. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1175-1219, December.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2001. "How To Compete: The Impact Of Workplace Practices And Information Technology On Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-445, August.
  5. 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.
  6. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Eli Berman & Linda T.M. Bui, 1998. "Environmental Regulation and Productivity: Evidence from Oil Refineries," NBER Working Papers 6776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0716, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. 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.
  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. Ralf Martin, 2008. "Productivity dispersion, competition and productivity measurement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19573, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect Of Managers On Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208, November.
  14. 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.
  15. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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