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CEP discussion paper

Human Resource Management and Productivity


In this chapter we examine the relationship between Human Resource Management (HRM) and productivity. HRM includes incentive pay (individual and group) as well as many nonpay aspects of the employment relationship such as matching (hiring and firing) and work organization (e.g. teams, autonomy). We place HRM more generally within the literature on management practices and productivity. We start with some facts on levels and trends of both HRM and productivity and the main economic theories of HRM. We look at some of the determinants of HRM – risk, competition, ownership and regulation. The largest section analyses the impact of HRM on productivity emphasizing issues of methodology, data and results (from micro-econometric studies). We conclude briefly with suggestions of avenues for future frontier work.


Nicholas Bloom and John Van Reenen

May 2010     Paper Number CEPDP0982

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Growth programme.