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Estimating Lost Output from Allocative Inefficiency, with an Application to Chile and Firing Costs

  • Amil Petrin

    (University of Minnesota and NBER)

  • Jagadeesh Sivadasan

    (University of Michigan)

We propose a new measure of allocative efficiency based on unrealized increases in aggregate productivity growth. We show that the difference in the value of the marginal product of an input and its marginal cost at any plant—the plant-input gap—is exactly equal to the change in aggregate output that would occur if that plant changed that input's use by one unit. We show how to estimate this gap using plant-level data for 1982 to 1994 from Chilean manufacturing. We find the gaps for blue- and white-collar labor are quite large in absolute value, and these gaps (unlike for materials and electricity) are increasing over time. The timing of the sharpest increases in the labor gaps suggests that they may be related to increases in severance pay. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00238
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 286-301

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:1:p:286-301
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  1. Sebastian Edwards & Alejandra Cox Edwards, 2000. "Economic reforms and labour markets: policy issues and lessons from Chile," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 181-230, 04.
  2. Hartley, Gonzalo Reyes & van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2011. "Incentive effects of unemployment insurance savings accounts: Evidence from Chile," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 798-809.
  3. James Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2003. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Working Papers 10129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Amil Petrin & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2006. "Job Security Does Affect Economic Efficiency: Theory, A New Statistic, and Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 12757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. John M. Abowd & Bryce E. Stephens & Lars Vilhuber & Fredrik Andersson & Kevin L. McKinney & Marc Roemer & Simon Woodcock, 2002. "The LEHD Infrastructure Files and the Creation of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  8. Alvarez, Fernando & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2001. "Severance payments in an economy with frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 477-498, June.
  9. Bond, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 2007. "Microeconometric Models of Investment and Employment," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 65 Elsevier.
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