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The Role of Human Capital and Managerial Skills in Explaining Productivity Gaps Between East and West

Wolfgang Steffen and Johannes Stephan

Eastern European Economics, 2008, vol. 46, issue 6, 5-24

Abstract: This paper assesses the determinants of productivity gaps between firms in the European transition countries and regions and firms in West Germany. The analysis is conducted at the firm level using a unique database constructed by fieldwork. The determinants tested in a simple econometric regression model focus on the issue of human capital and modern market-oriented management. The results are novel inasmuch as a solution was established for the puzzling results in related research with respect to a comparison of formal qualification between East and West. Furthermore, the analysis establishes that the kind of human capital and expertise mostly needed in postsocialist firms are related to the particular requirements of a competitive market-based economic environment. Finally, the analysis also finds empirical support for the role of capital deepening in productivity catchup, as well as the case that the gaps in labor productivity are most importantly rooted in a more labor-intensive production, which does not give rise to a competitive disadvantage.

Date: 2008
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