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Markups, returns to scale, and productivity : a case study of Singapore's manufacturing sector

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  • Kee, Hiau Looi

Abstract

The results of this paper challenge the conventional wisdom in the literature that productivity plays no role in the economic development of Singapore. Properly accounting for market power and returns to scale technology, the estimated average productivity growth is twice as large as the conventional total factor productivity (TFP) measures. Using a standard growth accounting (production function) technique, Young (1992, 1995) found no sign of TFP growth in the aggregate economy and the manufacturing sector of Singapore. Based on Young's results, Krugman (1994) claimed that there was no East Asia miracle as all the economic growth in Singapore could be attributed to its capital accumulation in the past three decades. Citing evidence on nondiminishing market rates of return to capital investment in Singapore during the period of fast growth as an indication of high productivity growth, Hsieh (1999) challenged Young's findings using the dual approach. But all of these papers maintained the assumptions of perfect competition and constant returns to scale and used only aggregate macro-level data. Kee uses industry level data and focuses on Singapore's manufacturing sector. She develops an empirical methodology to estimate industry productivity growth in the presence of market power and nonconstant returns to scale. The estimation of industry markups and returns to scale in this paper combines both the production function (primal) and the cost function (dual) approaches while controlling for input endogeneity and selection bias. The results of a fixed effect panel regression show that all industries in the manufacturing sector violate at least one of the two assumptions. Relaxing the assumptions leads to an estimated productivity growth that is on average twice as large as the conventional TFP calculation. Kee concludes that productivity growth plays a nontrivial role in the manufacturing sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2857.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2857

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Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; Labor Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Public Health Promotion; Economic Theory&Research; Economic Growth; Environmental Economics&Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; Achieving Shared Growth;

References

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  1. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 1999. "Productivity Growth and Factor Prices in East Asia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 133-138, May.
  2. Alwyn Young, 1992. "A Tale of Two Cities: Factor Accumulation and Technical Change in Hong Kong and Singapore," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 13-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James Levinsohn, 1991. "Testing the Imports-as-Market-Discipline Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 3657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  6. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
  8. Bartelsman, Eric J & Caballero, Ricardo J & Lyons, Richard K, 1994. "Customer- and Supplier-Driven Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1075-84, September.
  9. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Roeger, Werner, 1995. "Can Imperfect Competition Explain the Difference between Primal and Dual Productivity Measures? Estimates for U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 316-30, April.
  11. 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.
  12. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Lyons, Richard K., 1990. "Internal versus external economies in European industry," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 805-826, June.
  13. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  14. 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.
  15. Levinsohn, J. & Petrin, A., 1999. "When Industries Become More Productive, Do Firms?: Investigating Productivity Dynamics," Working Papers 445, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  16. repec:fth:michin:445 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Young, Alwyn, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-80, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. John Fernald & Brent Neiman, 2006. "Measuring the miracle: market imperfections and Asia's growth experience," Working Paper Series 2006-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Rumen Dobrinsky & Gábor Korösi & Nikolay Markov & László Halpern, 2004. "Firms’ Price Markups and Returns to Scale in Imperfect Markets: Bulgaria and Hungary," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-710, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

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