Yearly production and reproduction data on dairy farms in The Netherlands were obtained to determine whether management information systems significantly improved herd performance variables (management information systems (MIS) effects). The analysis included 357 adopters of a management information system and 357 herds were used as controls. The data comprised years 1987 through 1996, and included for the adopters both the 'before' and 'after' period. Panel data analysis enabled to estimate MIS effects both within and between farms, allowing for a separation of farm-specific effects and common (trend) effects. Adoption and use of a management information system resulted in a significant annual increase in rolling herd average milk (carrier) and protein production of 62 and 2.36 kg per cow, respectively. Calving interval was shortened by 5 days. The pay-back period was approximately 5 years of the system (including the hardware), and therefore, MIS appears to be economically profitable. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.