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Work-Life Balance, Management Practices and Productivity

46 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2007  

Nicholas Bloom

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Tobias Kretschmer

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Faculty of Business Administration (Munich School of Management); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

John Van Reenen

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Stanford Graduate School of Business; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2006

Abstract

Many critics of free-market liberalism argue that higher product-market competition and the "Anglo-Saxon" management practices it stimulates increases productivity only at the expense of employees' work-life balance (WLB). The empirical basis of these claims is unclear. To address this issue we use an innovative survey tool to collect the first international data on management practices and work-life balance practices, surveying 732 medium sized manufacturing firms in the US, France, Germany and the UK. We find that WLB outcomes are significantly associated with better management, so that well run firms are both more productive and better for their employees. After controlling for management practices, however, we find no additional relationship between WLB and productivity. WLB practices are also not reduced by tougher competition, suggesting no deleterious effect of competition on employees' working environment. Finally, looking at multinationals we find that US subsidiaries in Europe adopt the superior management practices of their US parent firms but the local WLB practices of their European competitors.

Keywords: work life balance, management, productivity, competition,

JEL Classification: O32, O33, L31

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Nicholas and Kretschmer, Tobias and Van Reenen, John, Work-Life Balance, Management Practices and Productivity (April 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1012387 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1012387

Nicholas Bloom (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building, Room 231
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-725-7836 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://economics.stanford.edu/faculty/bloom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Tobias Kretschmer

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Faculty of Business Administration (Munich School of Management) ( email )

Kaulbachstr. 45
Munich, 80539
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

John Michael Van Reenen

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 6976 (Phone)
+44 20 7955 6848 (Fax)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7240 6740 (Phone)
+44 20 7240 6136 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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