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Macro and Micro Dynamics of Productivity: From Devilish Details to Insights

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  • G. Jacob Blackwood
  • Lucia S. Foster
  • Cheryl A. Grim
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Zoltan Wolf

Abstract

Firm-level, revenue-based productivity measures are ubiquitous in studies of firm dynamics and aggregate outcomes. One common measure is increasingly interpreted as reflecting "distortions" since in distortions' absence, equalization of marginal revenue products should yield no dispersion in this measure. Another common but distinct measure is the residual of the firm-level revenue function, which reflects "fundamentals." Using micro-level US manufacturing data, we find these alternative measures are highly correlated, exhibit similar dispersion, and have similar relationships with growth and survival. However, the distinction between these alternative measures is critically important for quantitative assessment of the level and decline of allocative efficiency.

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  • G. Jacob Blackwood & Lucia S. Foster & Cheryl A. Grim & John Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2021. "Macro and Micro Dynamics of Productivity: From Devilish Details to Insights," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 142-172, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:13:y:2021:i:3:p:142-72
    DOI: 10.1257/mac.20170282
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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