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Production theory: accounting for firm heterogeneity and technical change

Author

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  • G. Dosi
  • M. Grazzi
  • L. Marengo
  • S. Settepanella

Abstract

The paper presents a new framework to assess firm level heterogeneity and to study the rate and direction of technical change. Building on the analysis of revealed short-run production functions by Hildenbrand (1981), we propose the (normalized) volume of the zonotope composed by vectors-firms in a narrowly defined industry as an indicator of inter-firm heterogeneity. Moreover, the angles that the main diagonal of the zonotope form with the axes provide a measure of the rates and directions of technical change over time. The proposed framework can easily account for n-inputs and m-outputs and, crucially, the measures of heterogeneity and technical change do not require many of the standard assumptions from production theory.

Suggested Citation

  • G. Dosi & M. Grazzi & L. Marengo & S. Settepanella, 2014. "Production theory: accounting for firm heterogeneity and technical change," Working Papers wp931, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp931
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Léopold Simar & Valentin Zelenyuk, 2011. "Stochastic FDH/DEA estimators for frontier analysis," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 1-20, August.
    2. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    3. Luis R. Murillo-Zamorano, 2004. "Economic Efficiency and Frontier Techniques," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 33-77, February.
    4. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Grazzi, 2006. "Technologies as problem-solving procedures and technologies as input--output relations: some perspectives on the theory of production," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 173-202, February.
    5. Baldwin, John R. & Rafiquzzaman, Mohammed, 1995. "Selection versus evolutionary adaptation: Learning and post-entry performance," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 501-522, December.
    6. Hildenbrand, Werner, 1981. "Short-Run Production Functions Based on Microdata," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1095-1125, September.
    7. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Grazzi & Chiara Tomasi & Alessandro Zeli, 2012. "Turbulence underneath the big calm? The micro-evidence behind Italian productivity dynamics," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 1043-1067, November.
    8. Cinzia Daraio & Léopold Simar, 2007. "Conditional nonparametric frontier models for convex and nonconvex technologies: a unifying approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 13-32, October.
    9. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
    10. Richard Disney & Jonathan Haskel & Ylva Heden, 2003. "Entry, Exit and Establishment Survival in UK Manufacturing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 91-112, March.
    11. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
    12. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    13. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Faillo & Luigi Marengo, 2003. "Organizational Capabilities, Patterns of Knowledge Accumulation and Governance Structures in Business Firms. An Introduction," LEM Papers Series 2003/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    14. Shaikh, Anwar, 1974. "Laws of Production and Laws of Algebra: The Humbug Production Function," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 115-120, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. ARATA Yoshiyuki & ONOZAKI Tamotsu, 2017. "A Compositional Data Analysis of Market Share Dynamics," Discussion papers 17076, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Giovanni Dosi & Xiaodan Yu, 2017. "Technological catching-up, sales dynamics and employment growth: evidence from China's manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2017/27, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. M. Grazzi & C. Piccardo & C. Vergari, 2017. "Building a firm level dataset for the analysis of industrial dynamics and demography," Working Papers wp2003, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    4. repec:oup:indcch:v:26:y:2017:i:2:p:187-210. is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Giovanni Dosi & Marcelo C. Pereira & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2017. "The footprint of evolutionary processes of learning and selection upon the statistical properties of industrial dynamics," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, pages 187-210.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • C67 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Input-Output Models
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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