Are large headquarters unproductive?
Masayuki Morikawa, 19 June 2014
Headquarters play important strategic roles in modern companies, but downsizing of headquarters is often advocated as a cost-cutting measure. This column presents evidence from Japanese firm-level data that the size of headquarters is positively associated with firms’ overall productivity. Moreover, the benefits of ICT are greater for companies with relatively large headquarters. Downsizing headquarters to cut costs may thus be harmful for long-term company performance.
The role of headquarters
Headquarters – the core service sector inside companies – conduct a wide range of highly strategic activities, including:
Topics: Productivity and Innovation
Tags: centralisation, headquarters, ICT, Japan, Management, productivity, technology
Good technology, bad technology: How Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) benefit some workers and harm others
Nicholas Bloom, Luis Garicano, John Van Reenen, Raffaella Sadun, 4 December 2013
The profound impact of the ICT revolution on the job market have been widely studied, but the effects of different types of technology can be heterogeneous and even contradictory. This column presents evidence that technologies providing access to stored data tend to empower front line workers, while communicative technologies put more power in the hands of managers.
A century ago, an ambassador to a distant nation would operate as a ‘viceroy,’ empowered to make decisions up to matters of war and peace. Declines in communication costs have transformed this once powerful office into a glorified sales position, requiring attendance at parties but no decisions of import.
Topics: Industrial organisation
Tags: ICT, routine and non-routine skills
New technology in schools: is there a payoff?
Stephen Machin, Sandra McNally, Olmo Silva , 14 December 2007
Do computers in schools help? Economists have long been sceptical, but new research finds that technology does have a positive effect on pupils’ performance.
The view that information and communication technologies (ICT) are a useful tool for raising educational standards dates back to the 1950s and the findings of Harvard psychologist BF Skinner.1 More recently, support for the effectiveness of ICT as a teaching and learning device has come from the educational and psychological literature (recently reviewed by Heathe
Tags: education, ICT, schools
The geographic concentration of services today mirrors that of manufacturing a century ago
Klaus Desmet, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg , 12 October 2007
Recent research suggests that improvements in information and communication technology are affecting the spatial growth of services today in the same way electricity promoted the concentration of manufacturing at the turn of the 20th century.
In the last two decades, rapid improvements in Information and Communications Technology – ICT – has wrought enormous change on the world. As with other so-called general purpose technologies, its productivity impact was initially not much felt. As Solow quipped in 1987, computers were everywhere “except in the productivity statistics”.
Topics: Labour markets
Tags: 'death of distance', ICT, spatial concentration