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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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    Cited by:

    1. T. Kirk White & Jerome P. Reiter & Amil Petrin, 2018. "Imputation in U.S. Manufacturing Data and Its Implications for Productivity Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 502-509, July.
    2. Cindy Cunningham & Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John Haltiwanger & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia & Jay Stewart & Zoltan Wolf, 2018. "Dispersion in Dispersion: Measuring Establishment-Level Differences in Productivity," Working Papers 18-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Gonzales-Rocha, Erick & Mendez-Guerra, Carlos, 2018. "Increasing productivity dispersion: Evidence from light manufacturing in Brazil," MPRA Paper 88478, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Galaasen, Sigurd & Jamilov, Rustam & Juelsrud, Ragnar Enger & Rey, Hélène, 2020. "Granular Credit Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 15385, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Nicholas Bloom & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lucia Foster & Ron Jarmin & Megha Patnaik & Itay Saporta-Eksten & John Van Reenen, 2019. "What Drives Differences in Management Practices?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(5), pages 1648-1683, May.
    6. Emin Dinlersoz & Zoltan Wolf, 2018. "Automation, Labor Share, and Productivity: Plant-Level Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 18-39, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Eric J. Bartelsman & Zoltan Wolf, 2017. "Measuring Productivity Dispersion," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-033/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Francesco Manaresi & Nicola Pierri, 2018. "Credit supply and productivity growth," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1168, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Sara Calligaris & Massimo Del Gatto & Fadi Hassan & Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Fabiano Schivardi & Tommaso MonacelliManaging Editor, 2018. "The productivity puzzle and misallocation: an Italian perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 33(96), pages 635-684.
    10. Benjamin Schoefer & Oren Ziv, 2021. "Productivity, Place, and Plants," NBER Working Papers 28772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. G. Jacob Blackwood & Cindy Cunningham & Matthew Dey & Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John C. Haltiwanger & Rachel L. Nesbit & Sabrina Pabilonia & Jay Stewart & Cody Tuttle & Zoltan Wolf, 2022. "Opening the Black Box: Task and Skill Mix and Productivity Dispersion," NBER Chapters, in: Technology, Productivity, and Economic Growth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Matt Marx, 2018. "Punctuated Entrepreneurship (Among Women)," Working Papers 18-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    13. Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John C. Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2019. "Innovation, Productivity Dispersion, and Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century, pages 103-136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Shaw, Kathryn & Sørensen, Anders, 2022. "Coming of age: Watching young entrepreneurs become successful," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    15. Francesco Manaresi & Nicola Pierri, 2018. "Credit supply and productivity growth," BIS Working Papers 711, Bank for International Settlements.
    16. Massimo Del Gatto & Fadi Hassan & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2019. "Company Profits in Italy," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 093, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    17. Doerr, Sebastian, 2018. "Collateral, Reallocation, and Aggregate Productivity: Evidence from the U.S. Housing Boom," MPRA Paper 106163, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2016. "Firm-Level Dispersion in Productivity: Is the Devil in the Details?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 95-98, May.
    19. Deng, Zhongqi & Jiang, Nan & Song, Shunfeng & Pang, Ruizhi, 2021. "Misallocation and price distortions: A revenue decomposition of medical service providers in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    20. Mr. Nicola Pierri & Francesco Manaresi, 2019. "Credit Supply and Productivity Growth," IMF Working Papers 2019/107, International Monetary Fund.

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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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