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Estimating Capital Efficiency Schedules Within Production Functions

  • Mark E Doms

The appropriate method for aggregating capital goods across vintages to produce a single capital stock measure has long been a contentious issue, and the literature covering this topic is quite extensive. This paper presents a methodology that estimates efficiency schedules within a production function, allowing the data to reveal how the efficiency of capital goods evolve as they age. Specifically we insert a parameterized investment stream into the position of a capital variable in a production function, and then estimate the parameters of the production function simultaneously with the parameters of the investment stream. Plant level panel data for a select group of steel plants employing a common technology are used to estimate the model. Our primary finding is that when using a simple Cobb Douglas production function, the estimated efficiency schedules appear to follow a geometric pattern, which is consistent with the estimates of economic depreciation of Hulten and Wykoff (1981). Results from more flexible functional forms produced much less precise and unreliable estimates.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 92-4.

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Date of creation: May 1992
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:92-4
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  1. repec:oup:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:2:p:445-502 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Pakes, Ariel & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Estimating Distributed Lags in Short Panels with an Application to the Specification of Depreciation Patterns and Capital Stock Constructs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 243-62, April.
  3. Epstein, L. & Denny, M., 1980. "Endogenous capital utilization in a short-run production model : Theory and an empiral application," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 189-207, February.
  4. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  5. Prucha, Ingmar R. & Nadiri, M. Ishaq, 1991. "Endogenous Capital Utilization and Productivity Measurement in Dynamic Factor Demand Models: Theory and an Application to the U.S. Electrical Machinery Industry," Working Papers 91-04, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. W. Erwin Diewert, 1980. "Aggregation Problems in the Measurement of Capital," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Capital, pages 433-538 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:oup:restud:v:51:y:1984:i:2:p:243-62 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Kim, Moshe, 1988. "The Structure of Technology with Endogenous Capital Utilization," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(1), pages 111-30, February.
  9. AriƩl Pakes & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Estimating Distributed Lags in Short Panels with an Application to the Specification of Depreciation Patterns and Capital Stock Constructs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 243-262.
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