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Structure and Behavior of Multi-product Firms: Evidence from India


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  • Choi, Jangho
  • Gopinath, Munisamy


A central theme of international trade research has been the impact of trade liberalization on productivity. Early literature on this theme points out that trade liberalization brings resource/organizational adjustment across industries and this adjustment enhances productivity. A traditional comparative advantage or monopolistic competition model examines responses at the average, i.e. homogeneous firms. In recent years, heterogeneous firm models with a general equilibrium framework expand the debate to include organizational adjustment across firms. The productivity improvement in the heterogeneous-firms framework arises through organizational adjustments of industries or firms following trade liberalization. The exit of less efficient industries or firms and the transfer of their resources to more efficient industries or firms lead to improvements in industry or national productivity. A new strand of the heterogeneous firm literature is now considering explanations of productivity change arising from intra-firm resource reallocation in the presence of product heterogeneity. Under firm heterogeneity, a firm’s technology uses determine their productivity; technology usages include technologies adoption and efficient use of adopted technologies. However, recent literature points out that there is a possibility that intra-firm resource reallocation affect a firm’s productivity in addition to technology usages. The purpose of this study is to show whether intra-firm resource reallocation affects multi-product firms’ TFP. Intra-firm resource reallocation is made up of two components: the number of products a firm produces (product range), and the way a firm allocates input resource across products (skewness of production). For this study, TFP is measured using De Loecker’s (2011) approach adopting the Cobb-Douglas production and CES utility functions under multi-product firms and applying two-stage estimation procedure. The intra-firm resource reallocation and productivity link is examined through the testing of two hypotheses: (i) high productivity firms have larger revenue and larger product range than low productivity firms and (ii) discontinuing a product and (/or) skewing production toward a particular product increases TFP while adding a product and (/or) equalizing the production of all products decreases TFP. These hypotheses have three implications. First, TFP is positively correlated with both revenue and product range. However expanding product range decreases TFP due to increasing possibility of input resource misallocation. Second, a firm’s TFP depends not only on technology usages, but also on intra-firm resource reallocation. The product range and he way to allocate input resource across heterogeneous products also affect a firm’s TFP. In other words, aggregate TFP depends not only on organizational adjustment across industries or firms, but also on organizational adjustment within a firm. Finally, getting export status significantly increases multi-product firms’ productivity due to the relationship between intra-firm resource reallocation and productivity. For the empirical analysis, the production and finance accounts of the PROWESS database on Indian firms (31,100 firms with 213,134 observations; 3,844 products with 213,134 observations) are used. This unique database allows the study to focus on multi-product firms’ structure, productivity, product range, and skewness of production.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. with number 149824.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:149824

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Keywords: Multi-product firms; Productivity; Total factor productivity; Intra-firm resource reallocation; Misallocation; Industrial Organization; International Development; International Relations/Trade; Productivity Analysis;

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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," NBER Working Papers 8349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2010. "Multiple-Product Firms and Product Switching," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 70-97, March.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 13054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andrew Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2009. "Multi-Product Firms and Trade Liberalization," Working Papers 09-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  8. Pinelopi Goldberg & Amit Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Trade Liberalization and New Imported Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 494-500, May.
  9. Prescott, Edward C, 1998. "Needed: A Theory of Total Factor Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 525-51, August.
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  12. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Amit Khandelwal & Nina Pavcnik & Petia Topalova, 2008. "Multi-product Firms and Product Turnover in the Developing World: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 14127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Feenstra, Robert & Kee, Hiau Looi, 2008. "Export variety and country productivity: Estimating the monopolistic competition model with endogenous productivity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 500-518, March.
  14. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
  15. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  16. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2013. "Misallocation and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 1-10, January.
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