Namrata Kala

MIT Sloan School of Management
100 Main Street, E62-517
Cambridge, MA 02142
Tel: 203/500-4675

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: DEV , EEE
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2019The Impacts of Managerial Autonomy on Firm Outcomes
The allocation of decision rights within organizations influences resource allocation, expansion decisions, and ultimately outcomes. Using a newly constructed dataset, I estimate the effects of an earned autonomy program for State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in India. The program gave managers (the board of directors) of profitable SOEs more autonomy over strategic decisions such as capital expansion and the formation of joint ventures. I find that autonomy allows SOEs to increase their capital stock and form more strategic partnerships which leads to greater sales and profits. I also find that the likelihood that a manager subsequently joins a board of a private firm is greater for managers of those SOEs which were granted autonomy, indicating that career concerns is a consistent explanation...
May 2019Management and Shocks to Worker Productivity
with Achyuta Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham: w25865
The assignment of workers to tasks is an important feature of the organization of production within firms. We study how task allocation across workers changes in response to productivity shocks. Pairing hourly productivity data from a ready-made garments firm with granular data on exposure to particulate matter pollution, we show that productivity suffers as a result of pollution shocks; this effect is heterogeneous across workers and tasks. Managers respond by reassigning workers to tasks in which they perform better on average during shocks. This response is larger for managers who we identify, via survey-based measurement, as exhibiting greater managerial attention, and these same managers are also the ones who are most able to mitigate resulting productivity declines.
February 2018The Skills to Pay the Bills: Returns to On-the-job Soft Skills Training
with Achyuta Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham: w24313
We evaluate the causal impacts of on-the-job soft skills training on the productivity, wages, and retention of female garment workers in India. The program increased women’s extraversion and communication, and spurred technical skill upgrading. Treated workers were 20 percent more productive than controls post-program. Wages rise very modestly with treatment (by 0.5 percent), with no differential turnover, suggesting that although soft skills raise workers’ marginal products, labor market frictions are large enough to create a substantial wedge between productivity and wages. Consistent with this, the net return to the firm was large: 258 percent eight months after program completion.
The Light and the Heat: Productivity Co-benefits of Energy-saving Technology
with Achyuta Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham: w24314
Measurement of the full costs and benefits of energy-saving technologies is often difficult, confounding adoption decisions. We study consequences of the adoption of energy-efficient LED lighting in garment factories around Bangalore, India. We combine daily production line-level data with weather data and estimate a negative, nonlinear productivity-temperature gradient. We find that LED lighting, which emits less heat than conventional bulbs, decreases the temperature on factory floors, and thus raises productivity, particularly on hot days. Using the firm’s costing data, we estimate the pay-back period for LED adoption is nearly one-sixth the length after accounting for productivity co-benefits.
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