IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Materials Prices And Productivity

  • Enghin Atalay

There is substantial within-industry variation in the prices that plants pay for their material inputs. Using plant-level data from the US Census Bureau, I explore the consequences and sources of this variation in materials prices. For a sample of industries with relatively homogeneous products, the standard deviation of plant-level productivity would be 7% smaller if all plants faced the same materials prices. Moreover, plant-level materials prices are persistent, spatially correlated, and positively associated with the probability of exit. The contribution of entry and exit to aggregate productivity growth is smaller for productivity measures that are purged of materials price variation. After documenting these patterns, I discuss three potential sources of materials price variation: geography, differences in suppliers' marginal costs, and within-supplier markup differences. Together, these variables explain 15% of the variation of materials prices.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 12 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (06)
Pages: 575-611

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:12:y:2014:i:3:p:575-611
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Charles I. Jones, 2011. "Intermediate Goods and Weak Links in the Theory of Economic Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, April.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Vasco Carvalho & Asuman Ozdaglar & Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi, 2011. "The network origins of aggregate fluctuations," Economics Working Papers 1291, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  4. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1999. "GMM estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," IFS Working Papers W99/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Natarajan Balasubramanian & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2008. "What Happens When Firms Patent? New Evidence from U.S. Economic Census Data," Working Papers 08-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitabality enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0408, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  7. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C.J. Krizan, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," NBER Working Papers 10501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2007. "Using Firm Optimization to Evaluate and Estimate Returns to Scale," NBER Working Papers 13666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Plutarchos Sakellaris & Daniel J. Wilson, 2001. "Quantifying embodied technological change," Working Paper Series 2001-16, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2008. "The Sensitivity of Productivity Estimates," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 311-328.
  13. Chang, Tai Hsieh & Peter, J- Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and manufacturing TFP in China and India," MPRA Paper 35084, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Jun 2007.
  14. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-65, June.
  15. Griliches, Zvi & Regev, Haim, 1995. "Firm productivity in Israeli industry 1979-1988," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 175-203, January.
  16. Enghin Atalay & Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2012. "Why Do Firms Own Production Chains?," NBER Working Papers 18020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. T. Kirk White & Jerome P. Reiter & Amil Petrin, 2012. "Plant-level Productivity and Imputation of Missing Data in U.S. Census Manufacturing Data," NBER Working Papers 17816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  19. Jeremy T. Fox & Valérie Smeets, 2011. "Does Input Quality Drive Measured Differences in Firm Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 16853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  21. Ryan Kellogg, 2011. "Learning by Drilling: Interfirm Learning and Relationship Persistence in the Texas Oilpatch," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1961-2004.
  22. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why do Management Practices Differ Across Firms and Countries?," CEP Occasional Papers 26, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  23. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Substitutability and Productivity Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 534-550, May.
  24. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John C. & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2009. "Trade Reforms and Market Selection: Evidence from Manufacturing Plants in Colombia," IZA Discussion Papers 4256, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Steven Davis & Cheryl Grim & John Haltiwanger, 2008. "Productivity Dispersion and Input Prices: The Case of Electricity," Working Papers 08-33, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  26. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  27. Jean-Pierre Dubé & Günter J. Hitsch & Peter E. Rossi, 2009. "State Dependence and Alternative Explanations for Consumer Inertia," NBER Working Papers 14912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Roberts, Mark J. & Supina, Dylan, 1996. "Output price, markups, and producer size," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 909-921, April.
  29. Rainer Klump & Peter McAdam & Alpo Willman, 2012. "The Normalized Ces Production Function: Theory And Empirics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 769-799, December.
  30. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Transfer Pricing by U.S.-Based Multinational Firms," NBER Working Papers 12493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Mihai Manea, 2011. "Bargaining in Stationary Networks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2042-80, August.
  32. Katayama, Hajime & Lu, Shihua & Tybout, James R., 2009. "Firm-level productivity studies: Illusions and a solution," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 403-413, May.
  33. Marcus Asplund & Volker Nocke, 2003. "Firm Turnover in Imperfectly Competitive Markets," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  34. Carmine Ornaghi, 2006. "Assessing the effects of measurement errors on the estimation of production functions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 879-891.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:12:y:2014:i:3:p:575-611. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.