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Does management matter ? evidence from India

  • Bloom, Nicholas
  • Eifert, Benn
  • Mahajan, Aprajit
  • McKenzie, David
  • Roberts, John

A long-standing question in social science is to what extent differences in management cause differences in firm performance. To investigate this, the authors ran a management field experiment on large Indian textile firms, providing free consulting on modern management practices to a randomly chosen set of treatment plants and compared their performance to the control plants. They find that adopting these management practices had three main effects. First, it raised average productivity by 11 percent through improved quality and efficiency and reduced inventory. Second, it increased decentralization of decision making, as better information flow enabled owners to delegate more decisions to middle managers. Third, it increased the use of computers, necessitated by the data collection and analysis involved in modern management. Since these practices were profitable this raises the question of why firms had not adopted these before. Their results suggest that informational barriers were a primary factor in explaining this lack of adoption. Modern management is a technology that diffuses slowly between firms, with many Indian firms initially unaware of its existence or impact. Since competition was limited by constraints on firm entry and growth, badly managed firms were not rapidly driven from the market.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5573.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5573
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  1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2003. "What's driving the new economy?: the benefits of workplace innovation," Working Paper Series 2003-23, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Nicholas Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Americans Do I.T. Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle," NBER Working Papers 13085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2005. "Learning about a new technology: pineapple in Ghana," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Nicholas Bloom & Raffaella Sadun, 2012. "The Organization of Firms Across Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1663-1705.
  5. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2007. "Personnel Economics," NBER Working Papers 13480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372.
  7. McKenzie, David, 2011. "Beyond baseline and follow-up : the case for more t in experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5639, The World Bank.
  8. Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2006. "Teaching entrepreneurship: Impact of business training on microfinance clients and institutions," Natural Field Experiments 00282, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. McKenzie, David, 2009. "Impact assessments in finance and private sector development : what have we learned and what should we learn ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4944, The World Bank.
  10. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-90, October.
  11. Bruhn, Miriam & Karlan, Dean & Schoar, Antoinette, 2013. "The impact of consulting services on small and medium enterprises: evidence from a randomized trial in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6508, The World Bank.
  12. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 16019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Donald W.K. Andrews & Vadim Marmer, 2005. "Exactly Distribution-free Inference in Instrumental Variables Regression with Possibly Weak Instruments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1501, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
  15. 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.
  16. Doug Miller & A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach, 2006. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," Working Papers 621, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  17. Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Syverson, Chad, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
  20. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017.
  21. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
  22. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1721-1758.
  23. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How Common is Workplace Transformation and Who Adopts it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
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