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Productivity volatility and the misallocation of resources in developing economies

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  • Asker, John
  • Collard-Wexler, Allan
  • De Loecker, Jan

Abstract

We investigate the role of dynamic production inputs and their associated adjustment costs in shaping the dispersion of total factor productivity (TFP) and static measures of capital misallocation within a country. Using data on 5,010 establishments in 33 developing countries from the World Bank’s Enterprise Research Data, we find that countries exhibiting greater time-series volatility of productivity are also characterized by greater cross-sectional dispersion in productivity. Volatility in TFP explains one quarter to one third of cross-country productivity dispersion. We document a similar relationship between productivity volatility and the dispersion of the marginal revenue product of capital (static capital misallocation). We then use a standard model of investment with adjustment costs, parameterized using numbers calibrated to U.S. data, to show that increasing the volatility of productivity to the level observed in these developing economies can quantitatively replicate the observed relationship between static misallocation and volatility observed in the data. We find that sixty-one percent of the static capital misallocation in the data is captured by the model’s prediction. Our findings suggest that the dynamic process governing productivity shocks is a first-order determinant of differences in misallocation and, hence, income across countries.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8469.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8469

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Keywords: misallocation; productivity;

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References

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  1. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
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  3. Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2010. "Productivity Dispersion and Plant Selection in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," 2010 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448, November.
  7. De Loecker, Jan, 2007. "Do exports generate higher productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 69-98, September.
  8. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," Working Papers 05-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. 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.
  10. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Working Papers tecipa-283, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  11. De Locker, Jan & Warzynski, Frederic, 2009. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," Working Papers 09-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  12. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
  13. Nicholas Bloom, 2007. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  15. Eric J. Bartelsman & John C. Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2009. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," NBER Working Papers 15490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Allan Collard-Wexler & Jan De Loecker, 2012. "Reallocation and Technology: Evidence from the U.S. Steel Industry," Working Papers 1402, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  2. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2012. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," NBER Working Papers 18041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andrea Pozzi & Fabiano Schivardi, 2012. "Demand or Productivity: What Determines Firm Growth?," Development Working Papers 344, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 13 Nov 2012.
  4. Zheng (Michael) Song & Guiying (Laura) Wu, 2013. "A Structural Estimation on Capital Market Distortions in Chinese Manufacturing," Economic Growth centre Working Paper Series 1306, Nanyang Technolgical University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economic Growth centre.
  5. Benjamin Moll & Robert M. Townsend & Victor Zhorin, 2013. "Financial Obstacles and Inter-Regional Flow of Funds," NBER Working Papers 19618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2012. "Misallocation and Productivity," Working Papers tecipa-468, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  7. Amit Gandhi & Salvador Navarro & David Rivers, 2011. "On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20119, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  8. Michael Peters, 2012. "Why Do Inefficient Firms Survive? Management and Economic Development," 2012 Meeting Papers 497, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Michael Peters, 2013. "Heterogeneous mark-ups, growth and endogenous misallocation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54254, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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