The New Empirical Economics of Management

This paper discusses what has been learned from the World Management Survey and other work on management practices


Over the last decade the World Management Survey (WMS) has collected firm-level management practices data across multiple sectors and countries. The authors developed the survey to try to explain the large and persistent total factor productivity (TFP) differences across firms and countries.

This review paper discusses what has been learned empirically and theoretically from the WMS and other recent work on management practices. Their preliminary results suggest that about a quarter of cross-country and within-country TFP gaps can be accounted for by management practices. Management seems to matter both qualitatively and quantitatively for performance at the level of the firm and the nation. Competition, governance, human capital, and informational frictions help account for the variation in management. They make some suggestions for both policy and future research.

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


Bloom, N., Lemos, R., Sadun, R., Scur, D. and Van Reenen, J. (2014). The New Empirical Economics of Management. Journal of the European Economic Association, 12: 835–876. doi:10.1111/jeea.12094

The New Empirical Economics of Management

Published 15 July 2014