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The elasticity of substitution: evidence from a UK firm-level data set


  • Barnes, Sebastian

    () (OECD)

  • Price, Simon

    () (Bank of England)

  • Sebastia Barriel, Maria

    () (Bank of England)


Using a panel of UK firms spanning three decades, we provide estimates of the long-run elasticity of substitution between capital and other factors of production, the (negative of the) elasticity of capital and investment with respect to the user cost. The parameter is estimated using 'time averages' (with data differenced over long periods) and pooled mean group panel methods. The robust result is that the elasticity is in the region of 0.4. This is consistent with previous results obtained using aggregate UK data, and is also in line with some recent results using US firm-level data. Estimated returns to scale exceed unity. When constant returns are imposed, the estimated elasticity of substitution is not substantially changed.

Suggested Citation

  • Barnes, Sebastian & Price, Simon & Sebastia Barriel, Maria, 2008. "The elasticity of substitution: evidence from a UK firm-level data set," Bank of England working papers 348, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0348

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    1. Kapetanios, G. & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Yamagata, T., 2011. "Panels with non-stationary multifactor error structures," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 160(2), pages 326-348, February.
    2. Holly, Sean & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Yamagata, Takashi, 2010. "A spatio-temporal model of house prices in the USA," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 158(1), pages 160-173, September.
    3. Wright, Mark, 2004. "Firm Size Dynamics in the Aggregate Economy," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4rs4202s, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    4. Vlieghe, Gertjan & Stephen Bond & Alexander Klemm & Rain Newton-Smith & Murtaza Syed, 2003. "The roles of expected profitability, Tobin's Q and cash flow in econometric models of company investment," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 212, Royal Economic Society.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michelle Gilmartin & David Learmouth & J Kim Swales & Peter McGregor & Karen Turner, 2013. "Regional Policy Spillovers: The National Impact of Demand-Side Policy in an Interregional Model of the UK Economy," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 45(4), pages 814-834, April.
    2. David Miles & Jing Yang & Gilberto Marcheggiano, 2013. "Optimal Bank Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(567), pages 1-37, March.
    3. Jochen Schanz & David Aikman & Paul Collazos & Marc Farag & David Gregory & Sujit Kapadia, 2011. "The long-term economic impact of higher capital levels," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Macroprudential regulation and policy, volume 60, pages 73-81 Bank for International Settlements.
    4. Robert S. Chirinko, 2008. "ó: The Long And Short Of It," CESifo Working Paper Series 2234, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Ezra Oberfield & Devesh Raval, 2012. "Micro data and macro technology," Working Paper Series WP-2012-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Konstantinos Pouliakas & Deborah Roberts & Eudokia Balamou & Dimitris Psaltopoulos, 2014. "Modelling the Effects of Immigration on Regional Economic Performance and Wage Distribution: A Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Analysis of Three European Union Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(2), pages 318-338, February.
    7. Robert Rowthorn, 2014. "A Note on Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century," Working Papers wp462, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    8. Matteo F. Ghilardi & Raffaele Rossi, 2014. "Aggregate Stability and Balanced‐Budget Rules," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(8), pages 1787-1809, December.
    9. Lynne Cockerell & Steven Pennings, 2007. "Private Business Investment in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2007-09, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    10. Nicholas Oulton & María Sebastiá-Barriel, 2013. "Long and Short-Term Effects of the Financial Crisis on Labour Productivity, Capital and Output," CEP Discussion Papers dp1185, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Lecca, Patrizio & McGregor, Peter G. & Swales, Kim J. & Tamba, Marie, 2017. "The Importance of Learning for Achieving the UK's Targets for Offshore Wind," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 259-268.
    12. Nicholas Oulton, 2013. "Medium and long run prospects for UK growth in the aftermath of the financial crisis," Discussion Papers 1307, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    13. Jane Gravelle, 2010. "Economic Effects of Investment Subsidies," Chapters,in: Tax Reform in Open Economies, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Christopher Tsoukis & Frederic Tournemaine, 2011. "Social Conflict, Growth And Factor Shares," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 283-304, May.
    15. repec:wsi:afexxx:v:12:y:2017:i:02:n:s2010495217500087 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Euan Phimister & Deborah Roberts, 2012. "The Role of Ownership in Determining the Rural Economic Benefits of On-shore Wind Farms," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 331-360, June.
    17. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Roberts, Deborah & Balamou, Eudokia & Psaltopoulos, Dimitris, 2008. "Modelling the Effects of Immigration on Regional Economic Performance and the Wage Distribution: A CGE Analysis of Three EU Regions," MPRA Paper 14157, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Investment; firm-level data; elasticity of substitution; panel.;

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