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International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms$
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Richard B. Freeman and Kathryn L. Shaw

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226261942

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226261959.001.0001

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Work-Life Balance, Management Practices, and Productivity

Work-Life Balance, Management Practices, and Productivity

(p.15) 1 Work-Life Balance, Management Practices, and Productivity
International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms

Nick Bloom

Tobias Kretschmer

John Van Reenen

University of Chicago Press

A debate is raging all over the developed world about quality of work issues. As unemployment has fallen in the United States and United Kingdom, attention has focused more on the quality rather than quantity of jobs. This has sharpened as women's participation has risen and issues of work–life balance and family-friendly policies have risen up the political agenda. This chapter sheds some empirical light on these debates. It characterizes two opposing views of globalization: the pessimistic and the optimistic view. A hybrid view between these two extremes is found. Finally, looking at U.S. multinationals based in Europe, an intriguing result is found that states that these firms appear to bring over their superior U.S. management practices with them to Europe but then adopt more worker-friendly European work–life balance practices.

Keywords:   work–life balance, management practices, productivity, unemployment, globalization, multinational companies

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