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The Productivity Puzzle and Misallocation: An Italian Perspective

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  • Sara Calligaris
  • Massimo Del Gatto
  • Fadi Hassan
  • Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano
  • Fabiano Schivardi

Abstract

Productivity has recently slowed down in many economies around the world. A crucial challenge in understanding what lies behind this \productivity puzzle" is the still short time span for which data can be analysed. An exception is Italy where productivity growth started to stagnate 25 years ago. Italy therefore offers an interesting case to investigate in search of broader lessons that may hold beyond local specific cities. We find that resource misallocation has played a sizeable role in slowing down Italian productivity growth. If misallocation had remained at its 1995 level, in 2013 Italy's aggregate productivity would have been 18% higher than its actual level. Misallocation has mainly risen within sectors than between them, increasing more in sectors where the world technological frontier has expanded faster. Relative specialization in those sectors explains the patterns of misallocation across geographical areas and firm size classes. The broader message is that an important part of the explanation of the productivity puzzle may lie in the rising difficulty of reallocating resources between firms in sectors where technology is changing faster rather than between sectors with different speeds of technological change.

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  • Sara Calligaris & Massimo Del Gatto & Fadi Hassan & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2017. "The Productivity Puzzle and Misallocation: An Italian Perspective," CEP Discussion Papers dp1520, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1520
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlo Ciccarelli & Matteo Gomellini & Paolo Sestito, 2019. "Demography and Productivity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry: Yesterday and Today," CEIS Research Paper 457, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 16 May 2019.
    2. Alessandro Mistretta & Francesco Zollino, 2021. "Recent Trends in Economic Activity and TFP in Italy with a Focus on Embodied Technical Progress," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 7(1), pages 79-107, March.
    3. Tuochen Li & Dongri Han & Shaosong Feng & Lei Liang, 2019. "Can Industrial Co-Agglomeration between Producer Services and Manufacturing Reduce Carbon Intensity in China?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(15), pages 1-15, July.
    4. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Roberto Ganau, 2019. "Institutions and the Productivity Challenge for European Regions," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 116, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    5. Acocella, Nicola & Beqiraj, Elton & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Di Pietro, Marco & Felici, Francesco & Alleva, Giorgio & Di Dio, Fabio & Liseo, Brunero, 2020. "A stochastic estimated version of the Italian dynamic General Equilibrium Model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 339-357.
    6. Anderton, Robert & Jarvis, Valerie & Labhard, Vincent & Morgan, Julian & Petroulakis, Filippos & Vivian, Lara, 2020. "Virtually everywhere? Digitalisation and the euro area and EU economies," Occasional Paper Series 244, European Central Bank.
    7. Michele Battisti & Filippo Belloc & Massimo Del Gatto, 2020. "Labor Productivity and Firm-Level TFP with Technology-Specific Production Function," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 283-300, January.
    8. Falco J. Bargagli-Dtoffi & Massimo Riccaboni & Armando Rungi, 2020. "Machine Learning for Zombie Hunting. Firms Failures and Financial Constraints," Working Papers 01/2020, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Jun 2020.
    9. Devicienti, Francesco & Fanfani, Bernardo, 2021. "Firms' Margins of Adjustment to Wage Growth: The Case of Italian Collective Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 14532, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Bianca Biagi & Maria Gabriela Ladu, 2018. "Productivity and employment dynamics: new evidence from Italian regions," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 35(2), pages 313-336, August.
    11. Alimov, Behzod, 2019. "Private debt, public debt, and capital misallocation," IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers 7/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    12. Carol Newman & John Rand & Mpho Tsebe, 2019. "Resource misallocation and total factor productivity: Manufacturing firms in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-46, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Lin Shao & Rongsheng Tang, 2021. "Allocative Efficiency and Aggregate Productivity Growth in Canada and the United States," Staff Working Papers 21-1, Bank of Canada.
    14. Belloc, Filippo & D’Antoni, Massimo, 2020. "The Elusive Effect of Employment Protection on Labor Turnover," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 11-25.
    15. Maurice Bun & Jasper de Winter, 2019. "Measuring trends and persistence in capital and labor misallocation," DNB Working Papers 639, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    16. Koutroumpis, Pantelis & Leiponen, Aija & Thomas, Llewellyn D.W., 2020. "Small is big in ICT: The impact of R&D on productivity," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    misallocation; TFP; productivity puzzle; Italy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • 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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