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Production theory: accounting for firm heterogeneity and technical change

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  • Giovanni Dosi
  • Marco Grazzi
  • Luigi Marengo
  • Simona Settepanella

Abstract

The paper presents a new framework to assess firm level heterogeneity and to study the rate and direction of technical change. Building on the analysis of revealed short-run production functions by Hildenbrand (1981), we propose the (normalized) volume of the zonotope composed by vectors-firms in a narrowly defined industry as an indicator of inter-firm heterogeneity. Moreover, the angles that the main diagonal of the zonotope form with the axes provides a measure of the rates and directions of technical change over time. The proposed framework can easily account for n-inputs and m-outputs and, crucially, the measures of heterogeneity and technical change do not require many of the standard assumptions from production theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2013/22.

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Date of creation: 10 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2013/22

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Keywords: Production theory; Heterogeneous firms; Activity Analysis; Technical change; Zonotopes; Production functions;

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  1. Leopold Simar & Valentin Zelenyuk, 2008. "Stochastic FDH/DEA estimators for Frontier Analysis," Discussion Papers 8, Kyiv School of Economics.
  2. Cinzia Daraio & Léopold Simar, 2007. "Conditional nonparametric frontier models for convex and nonconvex technologies: a unifying approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 13-32, October.
  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. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
  5. Luis R. Murillo-Zamorano, 2004. "Economic Efficiency and Frontier Techniques," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 33-77, 02.
  6. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
  7. Hildenbrand, Werner, 1981. "Short-Run Production Functions Based on Microdata," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1095-1125, September.
  8. Shaikh, Anwar, 1974. "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 115-20, February.
  9. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi & Alessandro Zeli, 2012. "Turbulence underneath the big calm? The micro-evidence behind Italian productivity dynamics," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 1043-1067, November.
  10. Baldwin, John R. & Raffiquzzaman, Mohammed, 1995. "Selection Versus Evolutionary Adaptation: Learning and Post-entry Performance," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1994072e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  11. Richard Disney & Jonathan Haskel & Ylva Heden, 2003. "Entry, Exit and Establishment Survival in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 91-112, 03.
  12. Chad Syverson, 2010. "What Determines Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 15712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Faillo & Luigi Marengo, 2003. "Organizational Capabilities, Patterns of Knowledge Accumulation and Governance Structures in Business Firms. An Introduction," LEM Papers Series 2003/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  14. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Grazzi, 2006. "Technologies as problem-solving procedures and technologies as input--output relations: some perspectives on the theory of production," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 173-202, February.
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