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Recent Advances in the Empirics of Organizational Economics

By Nicholas Bloom, Raffaella Sadun and John Van Reenen


We present a survey of recent contributions in the empirical organizational economics, focusing on management practices and decentralization. Productivity dispersion between firms and countries has motivated the improved measurement of firm organization across industries and countries. There appears to be substantial variation in management practices and decentralization between countries, but especially within countries. Much of the poorer average management quality in countries like Brazil and India seems due to a "long tail" of poorly managed firms, which barely exist in the US. Many basic economic theories are supported by this new data. Some stylized facts include: (1) competition seems to foster improved management and decentralization; (2) larger firms, skillintensive plants and foreign multinationals appear better managed and are more decentralized; (3) family owned and managed firms appear to have worse management; (4) firms facing an environment of lighter labor market regulations, and more human capital intensive organizations specialize relatively more in "people management". There is evidence for complementarities between ICT, decentralization and management, but the relationship is complex and identification of the productivity effects of organizational practices remain a challenge for future research.productivity, organization, management, decentralization

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