Management as a Technology?

68 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2016  

Nicholas Bloom

Stanford University - Department of Economics; London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Raffaella Sadun

Harvard University - Strategy Unit; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

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 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2016

Abstract

Are some management practices akin to a technology that can explain company and national productivity, or do they simply reflect contingent management styles? We collect data on core management practices from over 11,000 firms in 34 countries. We find large cross-country differences in the adoption of basic management practices, with the US having the highest size-weighted average management score. We present a formal model of “Management as a Technology”, and structurally estimate it using panel data to recover parameters including the depreciation rate and adjustment costs of managerial capital (both found to be larger than for tangible non-managerial capital). Our model also predicts (i) a positive effect of management on firm performance; (ii) a positive relationship between product market competition and average management quality (part of which stems from the larger covariance between management with firm size as competition strengthens); and (iii) a rise (fall) in the level (dispersion) of management with firm age. We find strong empirical support for all of these predictions in our data. Finally, building on our model, we find that differences in management practices account for about 30% of cross-country total factor productivity differences.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Nicholas and Sadun, Raffaella and Van Reenen, John, Management as a Technology? (June 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22327. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2794773

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

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

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7408 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/people/bio.asp?id=1498

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Raffaella Sadun

Harvard University - Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.hbs.edu/rsadun

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/staff/person.asp?id=1758

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
24
Abstract Views
860