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Are China and India Backwards? Evidence from the 19th Century U.S. Census of Manufactures

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  • Nicolas Ziebarth

    (Northwestern University)

Abstract

Hsieh and Klenow (2009) argue that a large fraction of aggregate TFP differences between the U.S. and the developing countries of China and India can be explained by factor misallocation. Their interpretation is that this misallocation is due to institutions and policies in these developing countries that redirect resources from productive to unproductive firms. Using the U.S. Census of Manufactures from the late 19th century, I find that the level of dispersion in these modern, less developed countries is very similar to that in the 19th century U.S. What is similar about the countries is their level of development not the existence of institutions that Hsieh and Klenow (2009) emphasize such as state owned enterprises as in China or entry restrictions as in India. These results suggest that the institutional basis of misallocation potentially goes beyond these overtly distortionary policies. I apply their accounting procedure to the U.S. and find that between 4% and 7% of total manufacturing TFP growth in the 20th century can be attributed to a more efficient intra-industry allocation of resources. I conclude by discussing some other explanations for these results including differences in transportation networks and lack of competitive regulation. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Ziebarth, 2013. "Are China and India Backwards? Evidence from the 19th Century U.S. Census of Manufactures," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 86-99, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:11-35
    DOI: 10.1010/j.red.2012.09.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Pedro Bento & Diego Restuccia, 2017. "Misallocation, Establishment Size, and Productivity," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 267-303, July.
    2. Doan Thi Thanh Ha & Kozo Kiyota, 2015. "Misallocation, Productivity, and Trade Liberalization: The Case of Vietnamese Manufacturing," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2015-007, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.
    3. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2017. "The Causes and Costs of Misallocation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 151-174, Summer.
    4. Daniel A Dias & Christine J. Richmond & Carlos Robalo Marques, 2016. "A Tale of Two Sectors; Why is Misallocation Higher in Services than in Manufacturing?," IMF Working Papers 16/220, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Liu, Dan & Meissner, Christopher M., 2015. "Market potential and the rise of US productivity leadership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 72-87.
    6. Sara Calligaris, 2015. "Misallocation and Total Factor Productivity in Italy: Evidence from Firm-Level Data," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(4), pages 367-393, December.
    7. S. Calligaris & M. Del Gatto & F. Hassan & G. I.P. Ottaviano & F. Schivardi, 2017. "The Productivity Puzzle and Misallocation: an Italian Perspective," Working Paper CRENoS 201710, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    8. Dias, Daniel A. & Robalo Marques, Carlos & Richmond, Christine, 2016. "Misallocation and productivity in the lead up to the Eurozone crisis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 46-70.
    9. Fuchs, William & Green, Brett & Papanikolaou, Dimitris, 2016. "Adverse selection, slow-moving capital, and misallocation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 286-308.
    10. Doan Thi Thanh Ha & Kozo Kiyota & Kenta Yamanouchi, 2016. "Misallocation and Productivity: The Case of Vietnamese Manufacturing," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 33(2), pages 94-118, September.
    11. Flora Bellone & Jérémy Mallen-Pisano, 2013. "Is Misallocation Higher in France than in the United States?," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-38, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    12. Calligaris, Sara & Del Gatto, Massimo & Hassan, Fadi & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P. & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2017. "The productivity puzzle and misallocation: an Italian perspective," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86617, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Daniel Dias & Christine Richmond & Carlos Robalo Marques, 2016. "Comparing misallocation between sectors in Portugal," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles and Banco de Portugal Economic Studies, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity; Dispersion; Long-run development;

    JEL classification:

    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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