NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The US Productivity Slowdown, the Baby Boom, and Management Quality

James Feyrer

NBER Working Paper No. 15474
Issued in November 2009
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS   PR

This paper examines whether management changes caused by the entry of the baby boom into the workforce explain the US productivity slowdown in the 1970s and resurgence in the 1990s. Lucas (1978) suggests that the quality of managers plays a significant role in determining output. If there is heterogeneity across workers and management skill improves with experience, an influx of young workers will lower the overall quality of management and lower total factor productivity. Census data shows that the entry of the baby boom resulted in more managers being hired from the smaller, pre baby boom cohorts. These marginal managers were necessarily of lower quality. As the boomers aged and gained experience, this effect was reversed, increasing managerial quality and raising total factor productivity. Using the Lucas model as a framework, a calibrated model of managers, workers, and firms suggests that the management effects of the baby boom may explain roughly 20 percent of the observed productivity slowdown and resurgence.

download in pdf format
   (235 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (235 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15474

Published: James Feyrer, 2011. "The US productivity slowdown, the baby boom, and management quality," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 267-284, January.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Nordhaus w10950 Retrospective on the 1970s Productivity Slowdown
Alesina and Ardagna w15438 Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes Versus Spending
Blanchard and Perotti w7269 An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output
Romer Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown
Syverson w15712 What Determines Productivity?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us