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Aggregate productivity and the productivity of aggregates

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  • Susanto Basu
  • John G. Fernald

Abstract

Explanations of procyclical productivity playa key role in a variety of business-cycle models. Most of these models, however, explain this procyclicaIity within a representative-firm paradigm. This procedure is misleading. We decompose aggregate productivity changes into several terms, each of which has an economic interpretation. However, many of these tenus measure composition effects such as reallocations of inputs across productive units. We apply this decomposition to U.S. data by aggregating from roughly the two-digit level to the private economy. We find that the compositional terms are significantly procyclicaI. Controlling for these terms virtually eliminates the evidence for increasing returns to scale, and implies that input growth is uncorrelated with technology change.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 532.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:532

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Keywords: Productivity;

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  1. Jess Benhabib & Roger E.A. Farmer, 1992. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," UCLA Economics Working Papers 646, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Burnside, C & Eichenbaum, M & Rebelo, S, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," RCER Working Papers 402, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Susanto Basu, 1994. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 4817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Farmer Roger E. A. & Guo Jang-Ting, 1994. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 42-72, June.
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  7. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Lyons, Richard K., 1992. "External effects in U.S. procyclical productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 209-225, April.
  8. Basu, S. & Fernald, J.G., 1993. "Are Apparent Productive Spillovers a Figment of Specification Error," Papers 93-22, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  9. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Ana M. Aizcorbe & Sharon Kozicki, 1995. "The comovement of output and labor productivity in aggregate data for auto assembly plants," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  18. J. N. Bhagwati & V. K. Ramaswami & T. N. Srinivasan, 1968. "Domestic Distortions, Tariffs and the Theory of Optimum Subsidy: Some Further Results," Working papers 29, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  19. Hulten, Charles R, 1978. "Growth Accounting with Intermediate Inputs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 511-18, October.
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