Productivity and Innovation

Nattavudh Powdthavee, Yohanes E. Riyanto, Jack L. Knetsch, 18 May 2017

Economists are judged on both the number of times they publish and where they publish. Yet very little is known about the impact on reputation of including lower-rated journals in an author’s list of publications. This column presents evidence that including these publications has a negative impact on judgements of the author’s contribution by other economists. To the extent that such judgements may influence research and publication strategies, the findings imply negative implications for social welfare.

Nicholas Bloom, Erik Brynjolfsson, Lucia Foster, Ron Jarmin, Megha Patnaik, Itay Saporta Eksten, John Van Reenen, 16 May 2017

Disentangling the relationship between management practices and productivity has been hampered by the absence of large sample data across plants and firms. This column exploits a new survey covering US manufacturing to show that management practices vary both among and within companies. Furthermore, management practices are just as important for productivity as a number of other factors associated with successful businesses, such as technology adoption. 

Giuseppe Berlingieri, Patrick Blanchenay, Chiara Criscuolo, 15 May 2017

Some firms pay well while others don’t; and some are highly productive while many aren’t. This column presents new firm-level data on the increasing dispersion of wages and productivity in both the manufacturing and services sectors in 16 OECD countries. Wage inequalities are growing between firms, even those operating in the same sector – and they are linked to growing differences between high and low productivity firms. Both globalisation and technological progress (notably information and communications technologies) influence these outcomes – as do policies and institutions such as minimum wages, employment protection legislation, unions, and processes of wage-setting.

Rui Luo, 13 May 2017

While the impact of modern technological change on the skill premium has been well explained, there has been no study of the evolution of the skill premium over the very long run. This column reveals that the skill premium in Western Europe declined between 1300 and 1600, and converged to a low and stable level afterwards. Growth and technological change, while stimulating economic development and the transition from a pre-modern era to modern era, reduced wage inequality between different working groups.

Georg Graetz, Guy Michaels, 12 May 2017

Recoveries from recessions in the US used to involve rapid job generation, but job growth has failed to match GDP recovery after recent US recessions. This column examines the role of technology in this and asks whether jobless recoveries are a wider problem outside of the US. In the US, industries that are more prone to technological change experienced slower job growth during recent recoveries, but it appears unlikely that modern technologies are causing jobless recoveries outside of the US. This poses a puzzle as to the nature of recent jobless US recoveries. 

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