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CEP discussion paper

What drives differences in management?


Partnering with the Census we implement a new survey of “structured” management practices in 32,000 US manufacturing plants. We find an enormous dispersion of management practices across plants, with 40% of this variation across plants within the same firm. This management variation accounts for about a fifth of the spread of productivity, a similar fraction as that accounted for by R&D, and twice as much as explained by IT. We find evidence for four “drivers” of management: competition, business environment, learning spillovers and human capital. Collectively, these drivers account for about a third of the dispersion of structured management practices.


Nicholas Bloom, Erik Brynjolfsson, Lucia Foster, Ron Jarmin, Megha Patnaik, Itay Saporta-Eksten and John Van Reenen

27 March 2017     Paper Number CEPDP1470

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