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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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    2. Daniel A. Dias & Carlos Robalo Marques & Christine Richmond, 2020. "A Tale of Two Sectors: Why is Misallocation Higher in Services than in Manufacturing?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 66(2), pages 361-393, June.
    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. Sara Calligaris, 2015. "Misallocation and Total Factor Productivity in Italy: Evidence from Firm-Level Data," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(4), pages 367-393, December.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Elías Albagli & Mario Canales & Antonio Martner & Matías Tapia & Juan M. Wlasiuk, 2019. "Misallocation or Misspecification? The Effect of “Average” Distortions on TFP Gains Estimations," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 835, Central Bank of Chile.
    10. Pedro Bento & Diego Restuccia, 2017. "Misallocation, Establishment Size, and Productivity," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 267-303, July.
    11. 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.
    12. 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), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    13. Carlos Robalo Marques & Daniel Dias & Christine Richmond, 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.
    14. Dai, Xiaoyong & Cheng, Liwei, 2019. "Aggregate productivity losses from factor misallocation across Chinese manufacturing firms," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 30-41.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity; Dispersion; Long-run development;
    All these keywords.

    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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