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Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?

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  • Lucia Foster
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Chad Syverson

Abstract

There is considerable evidence that producer-level churning contributes substantially to aggregate (industry) productivity growth, as more productive businesses displace less productive ones. However, this research has been limited by the fact that producer-level prices are typically unobserved; thus within-industry price differences are embodied in productivity measures. If prices reflect idiosyncratic demand or market power shifts, high "productivity" businesses may not be particularly efficient, and the literature's findings might be better interpreted as evidence of entering businesses displacing less profitable, but not necessarily less productive, exiting businesses. In this paper, we investigate the nature of selection and productivity growth using data from industries where we observe producer-level quantities and prices separately. We show there are important differences between revenue and physical productivity. A key dissimilarity is that physical productivity is inversely correlated with plant-level prices while revenue productivity is positively correlated with prices. This implies that previous work linking (revenue-based) productivity to survival has confounded the separate and opposing effects of technical efficiency and demand on survival, understating the true impacts of both. We further show that young producers charge lower prices than incumbents, and as such the literature understates the productivity advantage of new producers and the contribution of entry to aggregate productivity growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11555.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Publication status: published as Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11555

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  1. Guido Fioretti, 2005. "The Production Function," Papers physics/0511191, arXiv.org.
  2. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Klette, T.J., 1992. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators when Output Prices are unobserved and Endogenous," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1586, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  5. 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.).
  6. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Prices, Spatial Competition, and Heterogeneous Producers: An Empirical Test," Working Papers 04-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Roberts, Mark J. & Supina, Dylan, 1996. "Output price, markups, and producer size," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 909-921, April.
  8. Aw, Bee Yan & Chen, Xiaomin & Roberts, Mark J., 2001. "Firm-level evidence on productivity differentials and turnover in Taiwanese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 51-86, October.
  9. Marcela Eslava & John Haltiwanger & Adriana Kugler & Maurice Kugler, 2004. "The Effect of Structural Reforms on Productivity and Profitability Enhancing Reallocation: Evidence from Colombia," NBER Working Papers 10367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "ROBUSTNESS OF PRODUCTIVITY ESTIMATES -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 529-569, 09.
  11. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "Pattenrs Of Firm Entry And Exit In U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Papers 1-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  12. Haijime Katayama & Shihua Lu & James Tybout, 2003. "Why Plant-Level Productivity Studies are Often Misleading, and an Alternative Approach to Interference," NBER Working Papers 9617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jacques Mairesse & Jordi Jaumandreu, 2005. "Panel-data Estimates of the Production Function and the Revenue Function: What Difference Does It Make?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 651-672, December.
  14. John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. 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.
  16. C.J. Krizan & John Haltiwanger & Lucia Foster, 2002. "The Link Between Aggregate and Micro Productivity Growth: Evidence from Retail Trade," Working Papers 02-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. John Shea, 1996. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," NBER Technical Working Papers 0193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Timothy Dunne & Mark J Roberts, 1992. "Costs, Demand, and Imperfect Competition as Determinants of Plant_level Output Prices," Working Papers 92-5, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  21. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. 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.
  23. Thomas A Abbott III, 1992. "Price Dispersion In U.S. Manufacturing: Implications For The Aggregation Of Products And Firms," Working Papers 92-3, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  24. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. 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.
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  1. Declining U.S. Dynamism?
    by dvollrath in The Growth Economics Blog on 2014-05-14 15:39:47
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