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The Dynamics of Plant-Level Productivity in U.S. Manufacturing

Author

Listed:
  • Arpad Abraham
  • Kirk White

Abstract

Using a unique database that covers the entire U.S. manufacturing sector from 1976 until 1999, we estimate plant-level total factor productivity for a large number of plants. We characterize time series properties of plant-level idiosyncratic shocks to productivity, taking into account aggregate manufacturing-sector shocks and industry-level shocks. Plant-level heterogeneity and shocks are a key determinant of the cross-sectional variations in output. We compare the persistence and volatility of the idiosyncratic plant-level shocks to those of aggregate productivity shocks estimated from aggregate data. We find that the persistence of plant level shocks is surprisingly low-we estimate an average autocorrelation of the plantspecific productivity shock of only 0.37 to 0.41 on an annual basis. Finally, we find that estimates of the persistence of productivity shocks from aggregate data have a large upward bias. Estimates of the persistence of productivity shocks in the same data aggregated to the industry level produce autocorrelation estimates ranging from 0.80 to 0.91 on an annual basis. The results are robust to the inclusion of various measures of lumpiness in investment and job flows, different weighting methods, and different measures of the plants’ capital stocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Arpad Abraham & Kirk White, 2006. "The Dynamics of Plant-Level Productivity in U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 06-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:06-20
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2006/CES-WP-06-20.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emin M. Dinlersoz & Henry R. Hyatt & Hubert P. Janicki, 2015. "Who Works for Whom? Worker Sorting in a Model of Entrepreneurship with Heterogeneous Labor Markets," Working Papers 15-08r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. GABLER, Alain & POSCHKE, Markus, 2011. "Growth through Experimentation," Cahiers de recherche 11-2011, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    3. Toshihiko Mukoyama & Yoonsoo Lee, 2008. "Entry, Exit, and Plant-level Dynamics over the Business Cycle," 2008 Meeting Papers 454, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    5. repec:cen:wpaper:15-08 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2010. "Monetary Non-neutrality in a Multisector Menu Cost Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 961-1013.
    7. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Yoonsoo Lee, 2015. "Cross Sectoral Variation in the Volatility of Plant Level Idiosyncratic Shocks," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 1-29, March.
    8. Biewen, Martin & Weiser, Constantin, 2011. "A New Approach to Testing Marginal Productivity Theory," IZA Discussion Papers 6113, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Roberto Steri, 2015. "Collateral-Based Asset Pricing," 2015 Meeting Papers 293, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Costas Azariadis & Leo Kaas & Yi Wen, 2016. "Self-Fulfilling Credit Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 1364-1405.
    11. Valentina Bosetti & Marco Maffezzoli, 2013. "Taxing Carbon under Market Incompleteness," Working Papers 2013.72, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    12. Šustek, Roman, 2011. "Plant-level nonconvex output adjustment and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 400-414.
    13. James Costain & Marcel Jansen, 2010. "Employment Fluctuations with Downward Wage Rigidity: The Role of Moral Hazard," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(4), pages 782-811, December.
    14. Di Nola, Alessandro, 2015. "Capital Misallocation during the Great Recession," MPRA Paper 68289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Katherine A. Smith, 2011. "Can Financing Constraints Explain The Asset Pricing Puzzles In Production Economies?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(3), pages 739-765, August.
    16. Emin Dinlersoz & Henry Hyatt & Sang Nguyen, 2011. "Wage Dynamics along the Life-Cycle of Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 11-24r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2013.
    17. Lee, Yoonsoo & Mukoyama, Toshihiko, 2015. "Productivity and employment dynamics of US manufacturing plants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 190-193.
    18. Ryan Michaels & David Ratner & Michael Elsby, 2016. "Labor Market Frictions and Aggregate Employment," 2016 Meeting Papers 770, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Lakshmi Balasubramanyan & Ramesh Mohan, 2010. "How well is productivity being priced?," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 34(4), pages 415-429, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity; manufacturing; microdata;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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