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Estimating Production Functions in Differentiated-Product Industries with Quantity Information and External Instruments


  • Verhoogen, Eric
  • de Roux, Nicolás
  • Eslava, Marcela
  • Franco, Santiago


This paper develops a new method for estimating production-function parameters that can be applied in differentiated-product industries with endogenous quality and variety choice. We take advantage of data on physical quantities of outputs and inputs from the Colombian manufacturing survey, focusing on producers of rubber and plastic products. Assuming constant elasticities of substitution of outputs and inputs within firms, we aggregate from the firm-product to the firm level and show how quality and variety choices may bias standard estimators. Using real exchange rates and variation in the “bite†of the national minimum wage, we construct external instruments for materials and labor choices. We implement a simple two-step instrumental-variables method, first estimating a difference equation to recover the materials and labor coefficients and then estimating a levels equation to recover the capital coefficient. Under the assumption that the instruments are uncorrelated with firms' quality and variety choices, this method yields consistent estimates, free of the quality and variety biases we have identified. Our point estimates differ from those of existing methods and changes in our preferred productivity estimator perform relatively well in predicting future export growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Verhoogen, Eric & de Roux, Nicolás & Eslava, Marcela & Franco, Santiago, 2021. "Estimating Production Functions in Differentiated-Product Industries with Quantity Information and External Instruments," CEPR Discussion Papers 15626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15626

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Amit Gandhi & Salvador Navarro & David A. Rivers, 2020. "On the Identification of Gross Output Production Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(8), pages 2973-3016.
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    6. Gabriele Rovigatti & Vincenzo Mollisi, 2018. "Theory and practice of total-factor productivity estimation: The control function approach using Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 18(3), pages 618-662, September.
    7. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Kevin Caves & Garth Frazer, 2015. "Identification Properties of Recent Production Function Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 2411-2451, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Amodio & Nicolás de Roux, 2021. "Labor Market Power in Developing Countries: Evidence from Colombian Plants," Documentos CEDE 19267, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    2. Robert Anderton & Vasco Botelho & Paul Reimers, 2023. "Digitalisation and productivity: gamechanger or sideshow?," Discussion Papers 2023-05, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    3. Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos & López-Calva, Luis Felipe & Barriga-Cabanillas, Oscar, 2023. "Market concentration, trade exposure, and firm productivity in developing countries: Evidence from Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 165(C).
    4. Andrés Álvarez & Juan Camilo Chaparro & Carolina González & Santiago Levy & Darío Maldonado & Marcela Meléndez & Natalia Ramírez & Marta Juanita Villaveces, 2022. "Reporte ejecutivo de la Misión de Empleo de Colombia," Documentos de trabajo 20156, Escuela de Gobierno - Universidad de los Andes.
    5. Belloc, Filippo & Valentini, Edilio, 2022. "Digging into the Technological Dimension of Environmental Productivity," FEEM Working Papers 328580, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    6. Pham, Hoang, 2023. "Trade reform, oligopsony, and labor market distortion: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    7. Jamil, Nida & Chaudhry, Theresa Thompson & Chaudhry, Azam, 2022. "Trading textiles along the new silk route: The impact on Pakistani firms of gaining market access to China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).
    8. Austan Goolsbee & Chad Syverson, 2022. "The Strange and Awful Path of Productivity in the US Construction Sector," NBER Chapters, in: Technology, Productivity, and Economic Growth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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