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Estimation of cross-country differences in industry production functions

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  • Harrigan, James

Abstract

International trade economists typically assume that there are no cross-country differences in industry total factor productivity (TFP). In contrast, this paper finds large and persistent TFP differences across a group of industrialized countries in the 1980s. The paper calculates TFP indices, and statistically examines the sources of the observed large TFP differences across countries. Two hypotheses are examined to account for TFP differences: constant returns to scale production with country-specific technological differences, and industry-level scale economies with identical technology in each country. The data support the constant returns/different technology hypothesis over the increasing returns/same technology hypothesis.
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Suggested Citation

  • Harrigan, James, 1999. "Estimation of cross-country differences in industry production functions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 267-293, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:47:y:1999:i:2:p:267-293
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    1. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Productivity across Industries and Countries: Time Series Theory and Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 135-146, February.
    2. Brown, Drusilla K., 1991. "Tariffs and capacity utilization by monopolistically competitive firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 371-381, May.
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    5. Costello, Donna M, 1993. "A Cross-Country, Cross-Industry Comparison of Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 207-222, April.
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    7. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-987, December.
    8. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Productivity Convergence and Measurement across Industries and Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1216-1238, December.
    9. Chambers,Robert G., 1988. "Applied Production Analysis," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521314275, April.
    10. Hooper, Peter & Larin, Kathryn A, 1989. "International Comparisons of Labor Costs in Manufacturing," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 35(4), pages 335-355, December.
    11. repec:fth:harver:1487 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Diewert, W E, 1992. "The Measurement of Productivity," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 163-198, July.
    13. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
    14. James Harrigan, 1997. "Cross-country comparisons of industry total factor productivity: theory and evidence," Research Paper 9734, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    15. Keith E. Maskus, 1991. "Comparing International Trade Data and Product and National Characteristics Data for the Analysis of Trade Models," NBER Chapters,in: International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research, pages 17-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
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