NBER Working Papers by John Roberts

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Working Papers

March 2013Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment
with Nicholas Bloom, James Liang, Zhichun Jenny Ying: w18871
About 10% of US employees now regularly work from home (WFH), but there are concerns this can lead to “shirking from home.” We report the results of a WFH experiment at CTrip, a 16,000- employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. Call center employees who volunteered to WFH were randomly assigned to work from home or in the office for 9 months. Home working led to a 13% performance increase, of which about 9% was from working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick-days) and 4% from more calls per minute (attributed to a quieter working environment). Home workers also reported improved work satisfaction and experienced less turnover, but their promotion rate conditional on performance fell. Due to the success of the experiment, CTrip rolled-out the option to WFH to the whole firm ...
January 2011Does Management Matter? Evidence from India
with Nicholas Bloom, Benn Eifert, Aprajit Mahajan, David McKenzie: w16658
A long-standing question in social science is to what extent differences in management cause differences in firm performance. To investigate this we ran a management field experiment on large Indian textile firms. We provided free consulting on modern management practices to a randomly chosen set of treatment plants and compared their performance to the control plants. We find that adopting these management practices had three main effects. First, it raised average productivity by 11% through improved quality and efficiency and reduced inventory. Second, it increased decentralization of decision making, as better information flow enabled owners to delegate more decisions to middle managers. Third, it increased the use of computers, necessitated by the data collection and analysis involved ...

Published: Nicholas Bloom & Benn Eifert & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2013. "Does Management Matter? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 1-51. citation courtesy of

December 1985New Estimates of Federal Government Tangible Capital and Net Investment
with Michael J. Boskin, Marc S. Robinson: w1774
Government capital formation raises a number of issues important to national economic well-being, yet the U.S., unlike most advanced countries, does not account for capital in its formal budget documents. We estimate depreciation of government capital using a methodology developed by Hulten and Wykoff which is based on used asset price data. We estimate a federal government net nonresidential capital stock of over $800 billion in 1984, more than 20% higher than estimated by the BEA. We also find much larger net federal investment since World War II than the BEA. The behavior of military and civilian structures and equipment is also examined.We analyze the potential importance of these results for measuring the net national savings rate, national wealth, the trend in government capital form...


  • Boskin, Michael J, et al, 1985. "New Estimates of the Value of Federal Mineral Rights and Land," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 923-36, December.
  • Boskin, Robinson, and Roberts, "New Estimates of Federal Government Tangible Capital and Net Investment," in Technology and Capital Formation, ed. by Dale W. Jorgenson and Ralph Landau, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988.

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers onlyInformation about this author at RePEc

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