Measuring the Impact of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
In this paper, I measure the impact of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) on productivity and sales growth at manufacturing plants. To do this, I match MEP client data to the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Research Database (LRD). The LRD contains data for all manufacturing establishments in the U.S. and provides a number of measures of plant performance and characteristics that are measured consistently across plants and time. This facilitates valid comparisons between both client and non-client plants and among clients served by different MEP centers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) administers the MEP as part of their effort to improve the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. The program provides business and technical assistance to small and medium sized manufacturers much as agricultural extension does for farmers. The goal of the paper is to see if measures of plant performance (e.g., productivity and sales growth) are systematically related to participation in the MEP, while controlling for other factors that are known or thought to influence performance. Selection bias is often a problem in evaluation studies so I specify an econometric model that controls for selection. I estimate the model with data from 8 manufacturing extension centers in 2 states. The control group includes all plants from each state in the LRD. Preliminary results indicate that MEP participation is systematically related to productivity growth but not to sales growth.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1996|
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