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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 New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-13.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:11-13

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Postal: New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0860
Fax: (212) 995-4218
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/economics/
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  1. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," NBER Working Papers 13290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Caballero, Ricardo J & Pindyck, Robert S, 1996. "Uncertainty, Investment, and Industry Evolution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 641-62, August.
  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. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," Working Papers 05-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. 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.
  7. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  8. Nicholas Bloom, 2007. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Allan Collard-Wexler, 2010. "Productivity Dispersion and Plant Selection in the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry," 2010 Meeting Papers 105, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2000. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 7925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jan De Loecker, 2004. "Do Exports Generate Higher Productivity? Evidence from Slovenia," LICOS Discussion Papers 15104, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  12. 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.).
  13. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bartelsman, Eric & Haltiwanger, John C. & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2009. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 4578, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Edmond, Chris & Midrigan, Virgiliu & Xu, Daniel Yi, 2013. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," Economics Series 299, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  2. 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.
  3. Andrea Pozzi & Fabiano Schivardi, 2012. "Demand or productivity: What determines firm growth?," EIEF Working Papers Series 1211, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2012.
  4. 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.
  5. Allan Collard-Wexler & Jan De Loecker, 2012. "Reallocation and Technology: Evidence from the U.S. Steel Industry," Working Papers 1402, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  6. 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.
  7. Michael Peters, 2012. "Why Do Inefficient Firms Survive? Management and Economic Development," 2012 Meeting Papers 497, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2012. "Misallocation and Productivity," Working Papers tecipa-468, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  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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