Management as a Technology

The authors collected data on core management practices from over 11,000 firms in 34 countries


Are some management practices akin to a technology that can explain company and national productivity, or do they simply reflect contingent management styles?

The authors found large cross-country differences in the adoption of basic management practices, with the US having the highest size-weighted average management score.

The authors 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

  1. a positive effect of management on firm performance
  2. 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)
  3. a rise (fall) in the level (dispersion) of management with firm age

The authors 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.

This research was funded under the Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) Programme


Bloom, N., Sadun, R. and Van Reenen, J. (2016) “Management as a Technology”, NBER series.

Management as a Technology

Published 1 May 2015