Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries
Paper No' CEPDP0716:
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Keywords: management practices; productivity, competition, family firms
JEL Classification: L2; M2; O32; O33
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This Paper is published under the following series:
CEP Discussion Papers
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We use an innovative survey tool to collect management practice data from 732 medium sized manufacturing
firms in the US, France, Germany and the UK. These measures of managerial practice are strongly associated
with firm-level productivity, profitability, Tobin’s Q, sales growth and survival rates. Management practices
also display significant cross-country differences with US firms on average better managed than European
firms, and significant within-country differences with a long tail of extremely badly managed firms. We find
that poor management practices are more prevalent when (a) product market competition is weak and/or when
(b) family-owned firms pass management control down to the eldest sons (primo geniture). European firms
report lower levels of competition, while French and British firms also report substantially higher levels of
primo geniture due to the influence of Norman legal origin and generous estate duty for family firms. We
calculate that product market competition and family firms account for about half of the long tail of badly
managed firms and up to two thirds of the American advantage over Europe in management practices.
This paper has been published as:
"Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Nations", Nick Bloom and John Van Reenen, Quarterly Journal of Economics (2007) 122 (4), 1351-1408.