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The Sources of Capital Misallocation

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  • Joel M. David
  • Venky Venkateswaran

Abstract

We develop a methodology to disentangle sources of capital "misallocation," i.e., dispersion in value-added/capital. It measures the contributions of technological/informational frictions and a rich class of firm-specific factors. An application to Chinese manufacturing firms reveals that adjustment costs and uncertainty, while significant, explain only a modest fraction of the dispersion, which stems largely from other factors: a component correlated with productivity and a fixed effect. Adjustment costs are more salient for large US firms, though other factors still account for the bulk of the dispersion. Technological/markup heterogeneity explains a limited fraction in China, but a potentially large share in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel M. David & Venky Venkateswaran, 2019. "The Sources of Capital Misallocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2531-2567, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:109:y:2019:i:7:p:2531-67
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20180336
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Isaac Baley & Andrés Blanco, 2019. "Aggregate dynamics in lumpy economies," Economics Working Papers 1670, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Simone Lenzu & Francesco Manaresi, 2019. "Sources and implications of resource misallocation: new evidence from firm-level marginal products and user costs," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 485, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Venkateswaran, Venky, 2019. "Comments on ‘Loss-offset provisions in the corporate tax code and misallocation of capital’," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 21-23.
    4. Diego Restuccia, 2019. "Misallocation and aggregate productivity across time and space," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-32, February.
    5. Diego Restuccia, 2019. "Misallocation and aggregate productivity across time and space," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-32, February.
    6. Matthias Kehrig & Nicolas Vincent, 2017. "Do Firms Mitigate or Magnify Capital Misallocation? Evidence from Plant-Level Data," Working Papers 17-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Yan Bai & Dan Lu & Xu Tian, 2018. "Do Financial Frictions Explain Chinese Firms’ Saving and Misallocation?," NBER Working Papers 24436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Maurice Bun & Jasper de Winter, 2019. "Measuring trends and persistence in capital and labor misallocation," DNB Working Papers 639, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    9. Isaiah Andrews & Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2020. "Transparency in Structural Research," NBER Working Papers 26631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Matthias Kehrig & Nicolas Vincent, 2017. "Do Firms Mitigate or Magnify Capital Misallocation? Evidence from Plant-Level Data," Working Papers 17-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D25 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice: Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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