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Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-reeling Industry, 1909-1916

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  • ARIMOTO Yutaka
  • NAKAJIMA Kentaro
  • OKAZAKI Tetsuji

Abstract

Plants in clusters are often more productive than those located in non-clusters. This has been explained by agglomeration effects that improve productivity of all plants in a region. However, recent theoretical development of trade and spatial economic theories with heterogeneous firms has shed light on another channel of productivity improvement in clusters, "plant-selection effects." This paper uses plant-level data on the Japanese silk reeling industry from 1909 to 1916 to distinguish between these two effects based on a nested model of firm-selection and agglomeration. We identify the plant-selection effect by using the fact that the two effects have different implications on the distribution of plant-level productivity. Major findings are as follows. First, we confirmed that plants in clusters were indeed more productive. Second, at the same time, the widths of distribution of plant productivity in clusters were narrower and more severely truncated than those in non-clusters. Finally, productivity distribution did not shift rightwards in clusters. Our findings imply that the plant-selection effect was the source of the higher plant-level productivity in silk-reeling clusters in this period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) in its series Discussion papers with number 10003.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:10003

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  1. Corocs Gregory & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion & Gianmarco I P. Ottaviano, 2009. "Productivity and firm selection: quantifying the "new" gains from trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33249, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
  3. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga & Sebastien Roux, 2009. "The productivity advantages of large cities: Distinguishing agglomeration from firm selection," Working Papers tecipa-353, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Behrens, Kristian & Mion, Giordano & Murata, Yasusada & Südekum, Jens, 2009. "Trade, wages, and productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 7369, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
  7. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2005. "Heterogeneous Firms, Agglomeration and Economic Geography: Spatial Selection and Sorting," NBER Working Papers 11650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Tomoko Hashino & Keijiro Otsuka, 2012. "Hand looms, power looms, and changing production organizations: the case of the Kiryu weaving district in the early 20th century Japan," Economic History Working Papers 41659, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  2. Valter Di Giacinto & Matteo Gomellini & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2012. "Mapping local productivity advantages in Italy: industrial districts, cities or both?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 850, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  3. Antonio Accetturo & Valter Di Giacinto & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2013. "Geography, Productivity and Trade: Does Selection Explain Why Some Locations Are More Productive than Others?," Working Paper Series 24_13, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.

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