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Productivity Dispersion and Structural Change in Retail Trade

Author

Listed:
  • Dominic Smith
  • G. Jacob Blackwood
  • Michael D. Giandrea
  • Cheryl Grim
  • Jay Stewart
  • Zoltan Wolf

Abstract

Official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates of productivity growth in the retail trade sector indicate that productivity has grown at a moderate rate of 2.8 percent per year between 1987 and 2017, and that there is considerable variation in growth rates across 4-digit industries. But the official data, which can be thought of as weighted averages of establishment-level productivity, tell us nothing about what goes on within industries. Given the transformation of retail trade over the past three decades, this information could provide more insight. In this paper, we present productivity dispersion statistics for industries in the retail trade sector. These statistics are similar to the BLS-Census Bureau Dispersion Statistics on Productivity (DiSP) for manufacturing industries and complement the official BLS industry-level productivity statistics. We find that from 1987 through 2017, productivity dispersion increased slightly on average. Surprisingly, the tails of the retail productivity distribution have similar dispersion as we find in the middle. Firm dispersion has increased more than establishment dispersion.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominic Smith & G. Jacob Blackwood & Michael D. Giandrea & Cheryl Grim & Jay Stewart & Zoltan Wolf, 2023. "Productivity Dispersion and Structural Change in Retail Trade," Working Papers 23-60, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:23-60
    as

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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/library/working-papers/2023/adrm/ces/CES-WP-23-60.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2023
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2006. "Market Selection, Reallocation, and Restructuring in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 748-758, November.
    2. Teresa C. Fort & Shawn D. Klimek, 2018. "The Effects of Industry Classification Changes on US Employment Composition," Working Papers 18-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    retail; reallocation; business cycles; productivity dispersion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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