Evidence on IO Technology Assumptions From the Longitudinal Research Database
This paper investigates whether a popular IO technology assumption, the commodity technology model, is appropriate for specific United States manufacturing industries, using data on product composition and use of intermediates by individual plants from the Census Longitudinal Research Database. Extant empirical research has suggested the rejection of this model, owing to the implication of aggregate data that negative inputs are required to make particular goods. The plant-level data explored here suggest that much of the rejection of the commodity technology model from aggregative data was spurious; problematic entries in industry-level IO tables generally have a very low Census content. However, among the other industries for which Census data on specified materials use is available, there is a sound statistical basis for rejecting the commodity technology model in about one-third of the cases: a novel econometric test demonstrates a fundamental heterogeneity of materials use among plants that only produce the primary products of the industry.
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