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Cool Companies
How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity by Cutting Greenhouse-Gas Emissions
Joseph J. Romm
Island Press, 1999

Despite ongoing negotiations, consensus has not yet been reached on what action will be taken to combat global warming. A number of companies have looked beyond the current stalemate to see the prospect of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions not as a roadblock to growth and innovation but as a unique opportunity to increase profits and productivity. These "cool" companies understand the strategic importance of reducing heat-trapping emissions and have worked to cut their emissions by fifty percent or more. In the process, they have not only reduced their energy bill, but have increased their productivity, sometimes dramatically.

In Cool Companies, energy expert Joseph Romm describes the experiences of these remarkable firms, as he presents more than fifty case studies in which bottom line improvements have been achieved by improving processes, increasing energy efficiency, and adopting new technologies. Romm places efforts to reduce emissions in the context of proven corporate strategies, showing managers how they can build or retrofit their operations with the latest technologies to reduce emissions and achieve quick returns on the investment. Case studies explain:

  • the concept of "lean production" and why systematic efforts to reduce emissions so often lead to productivity gains
  • how changes in office and building design can significantly increase productivity, greatly compounding gains achieved from increased energy efficiency
  • options for "cool" power -- from cogeneration to solar, wind, and geothermal energy
  • energy efficiency in manufacturing, including motors and motor systems, steam, and process energy

In profiling successful companies such as DuPont, 3M, Compaq, Xerox, Toyota, Verifone, Perkin-Elmer, and Centerplex, among many others, Cool Companies turns on its head the notion that the effort to combat global warming will come with massive costs to the industrial sector. It is a unique and essential business book for anyone concerned with increasing profits and productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


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Every Factory a Fortress
The French Labor Movement in the Age of Ford and Hitler
Michael Torigian
Ohio University Press, 1999

French trade unions played a historical role in the 1930s quite unlike that of any other labor movement. Against a backdrop of social unrest, parliamentary crisis, and impending world war, industrial unionists in the great metal-fabricating plants of the Paris Region carried out a series of street mobilizations, factory occupations, and general strikes that were virtually unique in Western history.

The unionization of the metal industry, following a series of anti-fascist demonstrations and plant seizures, would constitute the defining episode in modern French labor history and one of the great chapters in European social history. Yet little is known of these extraordinary events.

With a style that captures the vivid character of these experiences, Every Factory a Fortress tells the story of the Paris metal workers, who succeeded in organizing the largest Communist union in the Western world, reshaping the parameters of French social relations, and, ultimately, altering the course of French destinies.


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Growth and Productivity in East Asia
Edited by Takatoshi Ito and Andrew K. Rose
University of Chicago Press, 2004
Considering the examples of Australia and the Pacific Rim, Growth and Productivity in East Asia offers a contemporary explanation for national productivity that measures contributions not only from capital and labor, but also from economic activities and relevant changes in policy, education, and technology.

Takatoshi Ito and Andrew K. Rose have organized a group of collaborators from several Asian countries, the United States, and other parts of the globe who ably balance both macroeconomic and microeconomic study with theoretical and empirical approaches. Growth and Productivity in East Asia gives special attention to the causes for the unusual success of Australia, one of the few nations to maintain unprecedented economic growth despite the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2001 global downturn. A new database comprising eighty-four Japanese sectors reveals new findings for the last thirty years of sectoral productivity and growth in Japan. Studies focusing on Indonesia, Taiwan, and Korea also consider productivity and its relationship to research and development, foreign ownership, and policy reform in such industries as manufacturing, automobile production, and information technology.

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Healthy Buildings
How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity
Joseph G. Allen and John D. Macomber
Harvard University Press, 2020

A New York Times Favorite Book of the Year for Healthy Living
A Fortune Best Book of the Year
An AIA New York Book of the Year

“This book should be essential reading for all who commission, design, manage, and use buildings—indeed anyone who is interested in a healthy environment.”
—Norman Foster

As schools and businesses around the world consider when and how to reopen their doors to fight COVID-19, the Director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings Program and Harvard Business School’s leading expert on urban resilience reveal what you can do to harness the power of your offices, homes, and schools to protect your health—and boost every aspect of your performance and well-being.

Ever feel tired during a meeting? That’s because most conference rooms are not bringing in enough fresh air. When that door opens, it literally breathes life back into the room. But there is a lot more acting on your body that you can’t feel or see. From our offices and homes to schools, hospitals, and restaurants, the indoor spaces where we work, learn, play, eat, and heal have an outsized impact on our performance and well-being. They affect our creativity, focus, and problem-solving ability and can make us sick—jeopardizing our future and dragging down profits in the process.

Charismatic pioneers of the healthy building movement who have paired up to combine the cutting-edge science of Harvard’s School of Public Health with the financial know-how of the Harvard Business School, Joseph Allen and John Macomber make a compelling case in this urgently needed book for why every business and home owner should make certain relatively low-cost investments a top priority. Grounded in exposure and risk science and relevant to anyone newly concerned about how their surroundings impact their health, Healthy Buildings can help you evaluate the impact of small, easily controllable environmental fluctuations on your immediate well-being and long-term reproductive and lung health. It shows how our indoor environment can have a dramatic impact on a whole host of higher order cognitive functions—including things like concentration, strategic thinking, troubleshooting, and decision-making. Study after study has found that your performance will dramatically improve if you are working in optimal conditions (with high rates of ventilation, few damaging persistent chemicals, and optimal humidity, lighting and noise control). So what would it take to turn that knowledge into action?

Cutting through the jargon to explain complex processes in simple and compelling language, Allen and Macomber show how buildings can both expose you to and protect you from disease. They reveal the 9 Foundations of a Healthy Building, share insider tips, and show how tracking what they call “health performance indicators” with smart technology can boost a company’s performance and create economic value. With decades of practice in protecting worker health, they offer a clear way forward right now, and show us what comes next in a post-COVID world. While the “green” building movement introduced important new efficiencies, it’s time to look beyond the four walls—placing the decisions we make around buildings into the larger conversation around development and health, and prioritizing the most important and vulnerable asset of any building: its people.


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International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms
Edited by Richard B. Freeman and Kathryn L. Shaw
University of Chicago Press, 2009

In recent years, globalization and the expansion of information technologies have reshaped managerial practices, forcing multinational firms to adjust business practices to different environments and domestic companies to adjust to their foreign competitors. In International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms, a distinguished group of contributors examines the phenomenon of widespread differences in managerial practices across firms, establishments within firms, and countries.

This volume brings together eight studies that combine qualitative and quantitative insider analysis of business practices such as the use of teams, incentive pay, lean manufacturing, and quality control, revealing the elements that determine which practices are adopted and why. International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms offers a much-needed model for measuring the productivity and performance of international firms in a fast-paced global economy.


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Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century
Edited by Carol Corrado, Jonathan Haskel, Javier Miranda, and Daniel Sichel
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Measuring innovation is a challenging task, both for researchers and for national statisticians, and it is increasingly important in light of the ongoing digital revolution. National accounts and many other economic statistics were designed before the emergence of the digital economy and the growth in importance of intangible capital. They do not yet fully capture the wide range of innovative activity that is observed in modern economies. This volume examines how to measure innovation, track its effects on economic activity and on prices, and understand how it has changed the structure of production processes, labor markets, and organizational form and operation in business. The contributors explore new approaches to and data sources for measurement, such as collecting data for a particular innovation as opposed to a firm and using trademarks for tracking innovation. They also consider the connections between university-based R&D and business start-ups and the potential impacts of innovation on income distribution. The research suggests strategies for expanding current measurement frameworks to better capture innovative activity, including developing more detailed tracking of global value chains to identify innovation across time and space and expanding the measurement of innovation’s impacts on GDP in fields such as consumer content delivery and cloud computing. 

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New Developments in Productivity Analysis
Edited by Charles R. Hulten, Edwin R. Dean, and Michael J. Harper
University of Chicago Press, 2001
The productivity slowdown of the 1970s and 1980s and the resumption of productivity growth in the 1990s have provoked controversy among policymakers and researchers. Economists have been forced to reexamine fundamental questions of measurement technique. Some researchers argue that econometric approaches to productivity measurement usefully address shortcomings of the dominant index number techniques while others maintain that current productivity statistics underreport damage to the environment. In this book, the contributors propose innovative approaches to these issues. The result is a state-of-the-art exposition of contemporary productivity analysis.

Charles R. Hulten is professor of economics at the University of Maryland. He has been a senior research associate at the Urban Institute and is chair of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Michael Harper is chief of the Division of Productivity Research at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Edwin R. Dean, formerly associate commissioner for Productivity and Technology at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is adjunct professor of economics at The George Washington University.

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The Power of Productivity
Wealth, Poverty, and the Threat to Global Stability
William W. Lewis
University of Chicago Press, 2004
The disparity between rich and poor countries is the most serious, intractable problem facing the world today. The chronic poverty of many nations affects more than the citizens and economies of those nations; it threatens global stability as the pressures of immigration become unsustainable and rogue nations seek power and influence through extreme political and terrorist acts. To address this tenacious poverty, a vast array of international institutions has pumped billions of dollars into these nations in recent decades, yet despite this infusion of capital and attention, roughly five billion of the world's six billion people continue to live in poor countries. What isn't working? And how can we fix it?

The Power of Productivity provides powerful and controversial answers to these questions. William W. Lewis, the director emeritus of the McKinsey Global Institute, here draws on extensive microeconomic studies of thirteen nations over twelve years—conducted by the Institute itself—to counter virtually all prevailing wisdom about how best to ameliorate economic disparity. Lewis's research, which included studying everything from state-of-the-art auto makers to black-market street vendors and mom-and-pop stores, conclusively demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, providing more capital to poor nations is not the best way to help them. Nor is improving levels of education, exchange-rate flexibility, or government solvency enough. Rather, the key to improving economic conditions in poor countries, argues Lewis, is increasing productivity through intense, fair competition and protecting consumer rights.

As The Power of Productivity explains, this sweeping solution affects the economies of poor nations at all levels—from the viability of major industries to how the average consumer thinks about his or her purchases. Policies must be enacted in developing nations that reflect a consumer rather than a producer mindset and an attendant sense of consumer rights. Only one force, Lewis claims, can stand up to producer special privileges—consumer interests.

The Institute's unprecedented research method and Lewis's years of experience with economic policy combine to make The Power of Productivity the most authoritative and compelling view of the global economy today, one that will inform political and economic debate throughout the world for years to come.

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Producer Dynamics
New Evidence from Micro Data
Edited by Timothy Dunne, J. Bradford Jensen, and Mark J. Roberts
University of Chicago Press, 2009

The Census Bureau has recently begun releasing official statistics that measure the movements of firms in and out of business and workers in and out of jobs.  The economic analyses in Producer Dynamics exploit this newly available data on establishments, firms, and workers, to address issues in industrial organization, labor, growth, macroeconomics, and international trade.

This innovative volume brings together a group of renowned economists to probe topics such as firm dynamics across countries; patterns of employment dynamics; firm dynamics in nonmanufacturing industries such as retail, health services, and agriculture; employer-employee turnover from matched worker/firm data sets; and turnover in international markets. Producer Dynamics will serve as an invaluable reference to economists and policy makers seeking to understand the links between firms and workers, and the sources of economic dynamics, in the age of globalization.


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Productivity and the Social System—The USSR and the West
Abram Bergson
Harvard University Press, 1978

The question of the comparative efficiency of socialism, long debated in theoretical discussions, is explored in depth in these studies. Abram Bergson, one of the foremost Western scholars of the Soviet system, focuses especially on socialism as found in the USSR, and thus on the famous “Soviet model.” This includes centralist planning with its reliance on bureaucratic, as distinct from market processes, and a development strategy stressing growth and, until recently, limited economic relations with the capitalist West. Devoting some attention also to the experience with the “Soviet model” in Eastern Europe, Bergson compares the resulting economic performance with that in the West. The United States is the major Western country considered, but Western European nations are also studied with care and precision.

The “Soviet model” has been evolving in the course of time, and these studies explore recent developments in planning, particularly managerial incentives and controls, and growth strategy. In contrasting Eastern and Western economic performance, Bergson uses sophisticated quantitative techniques to contrast levels and growth of productivity while allowing for differences in historical factors, especially the stage of economic development. Productivity is considered both for the economy generally and for its sectors. Although socialist efficiency is investigated mainly through the Soviet case, this path-breaking book should serve as a point of departure for further inquiries into that large theme.


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Productivity and U. S. Economic Growth
Dale Jorgenson, Frank Gollop, and Barbara Fraumeni
Harvard University Press, 1987

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Productivity Growth in Japan and the United States
Edited by Charles R. Hulten
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Emerging from the ruins of the Second World War, the Japanese economy has grown at double-digit rate throughout much of the 1950s and 1960s, and, when the oil crisis of the 1970s slowed growth throughout the industrialized world, Japanese growth throughout the industrialized world, Japanese growth rates remained relatively strong. There have been many attempts by scholars from a wide range of disciplines to explain this remarkable history, but for economists interested in the quantitative analysis of economic growth and the principal question addressed is how Japan was able to grow so rapidly.

The contributors focus their efforts on the accurate measurement and comparison of Japanese and U.S. economic growth. Assuming that any sustained increase in real GNP must be due either to an increase in the quantity of capital and labor used in production or to the more efficient use of these inputs, the authors analyze the individual contributions of various factors and their importance in the process of output growth.

These essays extend the methodology of growth analysis and offer many insights into the factors leading to the superior performance of the Japanese economy. They demonstrate that growth is a complex process and no single factor can explain the Japanese 'miracle.'

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R&D, Education, and Productivity
A Retrospective
Zvi Griliches
Harvard University Press, 2000

Zvi Griliches was a modern master of empirical economics. In this short book, he recounts what he and others have learned about the sources of economic growth. This book conveys the way he tackled research problems. For Griliches, economic theorizing without measurement is merely the fashioning of parables, but measurement without theory is blind. Judgment enables one to strike the right balance.

The book begins with economists' first attempts to measure productivity growth systematically in the 1930s. In the mid-1950s these efforts culminated in a startling puzzle. The growth of measured inputs like labor and capital explained only a fraction of the growth of national output. Economists called this phenomenon "efficiency" or "technical change" or "the residual." However, Griliches observes that the most accurate name was a "measure of our ignorance." What explained the rest of economic growth quickly became one of the most important questions in economics.

Over the next thirty years, Griliches and his colleagues and students looked for various components of the residual in education (the formation of human capital), investment (the formation of physical capital), and research and development. In 1973, after the oil price shocks, productivity growth slowed and the residual almost disappeared. Since the shocks were a short-term phenomenon, they could not account for the slowdown. A main focus of this book is therefore the puzzle of the productivity slowdown and how to date it and how to explain it.


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R&D and Productivity
The Econometric Evidence
Zvi Griliches
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Zvi Griliches, a world-renowned pioneer in the field of productivity growth, has compiled in a single volume his pathbreaking research on R&D and productivity. Griliches addresses the relationship between research and development (R&D) and productivity, one of the most complex yet vital issues in today's business world. Using econometric techniques, he establishes this connection and measures its magnitude for firm-, industry-, and economy-level data.

Griliches began his studies of productivity growth during the 1950s, adding a variable of "knowledge stock" to traditional production function models, and his work has served as the point of departure for much of the research into R&D and productivity. This collection of essays documents both Griliches's distinguished career as well as the history of this line of thought.

As inputs into production increasingly taking the form of "intellectual capital" and new technologies that are not as easily measured as traditional labor and capital, the methods Griliches has refined and applied to R&D become crucial to understanding today's economy.


front cover of R&D, Patents and Productivity
R&D, Patents and Productivity
Edited by Zvi Griliches
University of Chicago Press, 1984
Zvi Griliches, a world-renowned pioneer in the field of productivity growth, has compiled in a single volume his pathbreaking research on R&D and productivity. Griliches addresses the relationship between research and development (R&D) and productivity, one of the most complex yet vital issues in today's business world. Using econometric techniques, he establishes this connection and measures its magnitude for firm-, industry-, and economy-level data.

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The Return to Increasing Returns
James M. Buchanan and Yong J. Yoon, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 1994
The wealth of a nation depends on the division of labor, and the division of labor depends on the extent of the market. Adam Smith advanced this proposition in 1776, but neoclassical economists, in particular, have had difficulty incorporating it into conversational models. Increasing returns, as related to the size of the market nexus, have never found a secure place in economic theory, despite early efforts by Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, and Allyn Young.
The neoclassical theory of distribution, developed in the last decades of the nineteenth century, relies on the postulate that in equilibrium there exist constant returns to scale, not only in particular firms and industries, but in the economy as a whole. As general equilibrium theory developed, emphasis was sifted to the properties of equilibrium, to the proofs of its existence, and to the attributes of welfare. The possibility of increasing returns represented an analytical “monkey wrench” thrown in the whole neoclassical structure. Thus, the neglect of increasing returns may have been methodologically understandable – if scientifically scandalous. Only in recent years has the increasing returns postulate returned to the mainstream through analyses of endogenous growth, international trade, unemployment, and the economics of ethics.

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