Talents from Abroad. Foreign Managers and Productivity in the United Kingdom

02  December 2019    3:00 pm CET

Dimitrios Exadaktylos, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca

In cooperation with:


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna


Please note: the Event was originally announced under the title: "The Impact of Foreign Managers on Productivity: Evidence from the United Kingdom"

The presentation is based on a paper co-authored with Massimo Riccaboni and Armando Rungi.

This paper tests the contribution of foreign management on firms' productivity. We show that a domestic firm becomes more productive after hiring at least one foreign manager. Productivity gains from foreign managers in domestic firms (about 10%) are similar in magnitude to productivity gains from foreign acquisitions in previous literature. Interestingly, we do not find any significant productivity gains when foreign management is hired by foreign-owned firms. We argue that recruiting talents from abroad constitutes an alternative to exploit international technological spillovers. For our purpose, we use a novel data set on the careers of 165,084 managers working for 13,106 companies in the United Kingdom in the period 2009-2017. Our identification strategy includes both a difference-in-difference analysis and a matching technique to challenge reverse causality. Results are robust when we measure firms' competitiveness either by total factor productivity or by technical efficiency after stochastic frontier analyses. Eventually, our findings suggest that limits to managers’ mobility, as for example in the case of a Brexit event, may hamper the allocation of labor productive resources.

Paper and presentation, when available, are posted online after the seminar.

Keywords: Managers, productivity, job mobility, spillovers, multinational enterprises, migration

JEL classification: F22, F23, L21, L23, L25, M11