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Which personnel measures are effective in increasing productivity of old workers?

  • Göbel, Christian
  • Zwick, Thomas

In this study, we investigate the effect of five specific human resource measures for old employees (SMOE) on their relative productivity. Despite the fact that SMOE are applied in the majority of establishments, this is the first representative study on the effectiveness of these measures. We find that the relative productivity contributions of old workers are significantly higher in establishments that provide either specific equipment of work places or age-specific jobs for old workers. In establishments that apply mixed-age working teams the productivity contributions of old and of young employees are significantly higher than in establishments without this measure. Working time reductions and specific training for old employees are not associated with higher relative productivity of these employees. Our paper provides a joint explanation for two recent findings, the only modest decline of the productivity contributions of old workers and the high variance for estimates of age-productivity profiles.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 10-069.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10069
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  1. Steve Bond & Måns Söderbom, 2005. "Adjustment costs and the identification of Cobb Douglas production functions," IFS Working Papers W05/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  10. O'Mahony, Mary & Peng, Fei, 2009. "Skill bias, age and organizational change," MPRA Paper 38767, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  12. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Human resource management and productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28730, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. 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.
  14. Thomas Zwick, 2003. "The Impact of ICT Investment on Establishment Productivity," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 184(1), pages 99-110, April.
  15. Gartner, Hermann, 2005. "The imputation of wages above the contribution limit with the German IAB employment sample," FDZ Methodenreport 200502_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  16. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Stephan Veen, 2008. "The Impact of Workforce Age Heterogeneity on Company Productivity," Working Papers 0078, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Sep 2009.
  17. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Seija Ilmakunnas, 2011. "Diversity at the Workplace: Whom Does it Benefit?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 223-255, June.
  18. Göbel, Christian & Zwick, Thomas, 2009. "Age and productivity: evidence from linked employer employee data," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-020, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  19. Zwick, Thomas, 2004. "Employee participation and productivity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 715-740, December.
  20. John Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn & Georgi Tsertsvardze, 2010. "Hiring older workers and employing older workers: German evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 595-615, March.
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