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Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies

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

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17175.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Publication status: published as \Dynamic Inputs and Resource (Mis)Allocation", (joint with John Asker and Jan De Loecker), forthcoming, Journal of Political Economy.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17175

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Working Papers tecipa-283, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  5. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  6. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2010. "Productivity Dispersion and Plant Selection in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," 2010 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J Klenow, 2008. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," 2008 Meeting Papers 121, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. 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.
  9. De Loecker, Jan, 2007. "Do exports generate higher productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 69-98, September.
  10. Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2012. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2437-71, October.
  11. 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.
  12. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ricardo J. Caballero & Robert S. Pindyck, 1992. "Uncertainty, Investment, and Industry Evolution," NBER Working Papers 4160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2013. "Misallocation and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 1-10, January.
  3. A. Pozzi & F. Schivardi, 2012. "Demand or productivity: What determines firm growth?," Working Paper CRENoS 201224, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  4. Daniel Yi Xu, 2013. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," 2013 Meeting Papers 653, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Salvador Navarro & David Rivers & Amit Gandhi, 2012. "On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?," 2012 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. 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.
  7. Collard-Wexler, Allan & De Loecker, Jan, 2013. "Reallocation and Technology: Evidence from the U.S. Steel Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 9331, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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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