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A Richer Understanding of Australia’s Productivity Performance in the 1990s: Improved estimates based upon firm-level panel data

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  • Robert Breunig
  • Marn-Heong Wong

Abstract

Australia’s productivity performance is characterized by important differences across continuing firms, frequent entry of new firms, and substantial exit of firms which, for one reason or another, decide to cease production. These basic facts call into question the appropriateness of measuring productivity using an aggregate production function that is based upon a representative firm. This study relaxes the standard assumptions that industries are comprised of a set of homogeneous firms, the set of which are constant over time. Instead, we apply a semi-parametric production to continue production. The model controls for the relationship between productivity shocks and input choices and the inter-relationship between these and the decision to continue production. Using the Business Longitudinal Survey we estimate an improved set of production functions for twenty-five two-digit industries in Australia. We use these results to examine aggregate industry-level productivity performance. We use a new aggregation method in calculating these changes which allows us to separate productivity changes and output composition changes which sheds new light on industry-level productivity performance in Australia.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 545.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:545

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Keywords: Firm-level production function estimation; multi-factor productivity; semiparametric estimation; Australian economic performance;

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References

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  1. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nina Pavcnik, 2000. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," NBER Working Papers 7852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Blalock, Garrick & Gertler, Paul J., 2004. "Learning from exporting revisited in a less developed setting," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 397-416, December.
  4. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-38, October.
  5. Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2004. "Estimating Production Functions When Productivity Change is Endogenous," CESifo Working Paper Series 1143, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  7. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  8. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2004. "Trade, Technology, and Productivity: A Study of Brazilian Manufacturers, 1986-1998," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6m96c2r7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  9. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  10. Chiara Criscuolo & Ralf Martin, 2005. "Multinationals and US Productivity Leadership: Evidence from Great Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0672, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. 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.
  12. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1988. "Asymptotic Normality of Series Estimators for Nonparametric and Semiparametric Regression Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 874R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised May 1989.
  13. Dean Parham, 2004. "Sources of Australia's Productivity Revival," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(249), pages 239-257, 06.
  14. Amil Petrin & James Levinsohn, 2005. "Measuring Aggregate Productivity Growth Using Plant-Level Data," NBER Working Papers 11887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Sasan Bakhtiari, 2011. "Size Evolution and Outsourcing: Theory and Evidence from Australian Manufacturing," Discussion Papers 2012-08, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  2. Sasan Bakhtiari & Robert Breunig, 2012. "Outsourcing and Innovation: An Empirical Study of Causes and Effects," Discussion Papers 2012-35, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  3. Sasan Bakhtiari, 2011. "Efficiency and Outsourcing: Evidence from Australian Manufacturing," Discussion Papers 2012-07, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  4. Samantha Farmakis-Gamboni & David Prentice, 2007. "Does Reducing Union Bargaining Power Increase Productivity?," Working Papers 2007.04 EDIRC Provider-In, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  5. Sasan Bakhtiari, 2013. "Firm Size Evolution and Outsourcing," Discussion Papers 2013-07, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.

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