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Australia's Firm-level Productivity - a New Perspective

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  • Robert Breunig
  • Marn-Heong Wong

Abstract

Not all firms contributed to Australia’s impressive productivity growth in the 1990s. Some performed better than others, and entrants arrived even as incumbents exited. If firms make decisions on input demand and liquidation based on their productivity, the latter known to them but unobserved by the econometrician, this gives rise to simultaneity and selection problems which bias the traditional estimators of production function coefficients. We apply a semiparametric technique that endogenises input choices and firm exit decisions to obtain production function estimates on Australian firms. Estimation is carried out using the Business Longitudinal Survey, Australia’s only business longitudinal micro-dataset which tracks firm entry and exit. We analyse over twenty industries at the 2-digit ANZSIC level. Results from production function estimation provide interesting insights on the micro processes at work within industries and the differences across industries. The relative contribution of continuing and entering/exiting firms to Total Factor Productivity growth is then assessed, using a recently proposed decomposition method that corrects for earlier methods’ failure to meet the property of monotonicity in their indicator of aggregate productivity change. This highlights the role of firm dynamics, and the forces of regulation, innovation and competition propelling them, as an indelible part of the bigger productivity improvement picture.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Breunig & Marn-Heong Wong, 2004. "Australia's Firm-level Productivity - a New Perspective," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 177, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:177
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stefano Scarpetta & Philip Hemmings & Thierry Tressel & Jaejoon Woo, 2002. "The Role of Policy and Institutions for Productivity and Firm Dynamics: Evidence from Micro and Industry Data," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 329, OECD Publishing.
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    3. Yi-Ping Tseng & Mark Wooden, 2001. "Enterprise Bargaining and Productivity: Evidence from the Business Longitudinal Survey," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2001n08, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Andrews, Donald W K, 1991. "Asymptotic Normality of Series Estimators for Nonparametric and Semiparametric Regression Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 307-345, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    production function; total factor productivity; semi-parametric estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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