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The Productivity Impact of Skills in English Manufacturing, 2001: Evidence from Plant-Level Matched Data

Richard Harris (), Q Li and Catherine Robinson ()
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Qi Li and Qian Cher Li ()

Working Papers from Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow

Abstract: Microeconomic analyses of productivity for the UK have generally not been able to control for the quality of the labour input, primarily due to data availability, and yet the supply of suitably skilled labour is thought to be a major contributing factor to productivity levels. This paper combines the Annual Respondents Database with the Employers’ Skills Survey for 2001, which allows for a more detailed analysis of the role of skills in determining plant level productivity. Using an augmented Cobb-Douglas production function, the analysis shows that plants experiencing skills shortages were generally less productive than those who did not perceive a skills gap, having controlled for industry and regional effects. In more detail, the analysis reveals some interesting results: the impact that skills gaps have on productivity vary by industry, and higher qualifications do not always result in higher productivity, although innovative plants are seen to be on average 5 per cent more productive, as a result of their more qualified workforce.

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