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Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-reeling Industry, 1909-1916

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  • ARIMOTO Yutaka
  • NAKAJIMA Kentaro
  • OKAZAKI Tetsuji

Abstract

Plants in clusters are often more productive than those located in non-clusters. This has been explained by agglomeration effects that improve productivity of all plants in a region. However, recent theoretical development of trade and spatial economic theories with heterogeneous firms has shed light on another channel of productivity improvement in clusters, "plant-selection effects." This paper uses plant-level data on the Japanese silk reeling industry from 1909 to 1916 to distinguish between these two effects based on a nested model of firm-selection and agglomeration. We identify the plant-selection effect by using the fact that the two effects have different implications on the distribution of plant-level productivity. Major findings are as follows. First, we confirmed that plants in clusters were indeed more productive. Second, at the same time, the widths of distribution of plant productivity in clusters were narrower and more severely truncated than those in non-clusters. Finally, productivity distribution did not shift rightwards in clusters. Our findings imply that the plant-selection effect was the source of the higher plant-level productivity in silk-reeling clusters in this period.

Suggested Citation

  • ARIMOTO Yutaka & NAKAJIMA Kentaro & OKAZAKI Tetsuji, 2010. "Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-reeling Industry, 1909-1916," Discussion papers 10003, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:10003
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    File URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/jp/publications/dp/10e003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kristian Behrens & Giordano Mion & Yasusada Murata & Jens Südekum, 2014. "Trade, Wages, And Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 1305-1348, November.
    2. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2006. "Heterogeneous firms, agglomeration and economic geography: spatial selection and sorting," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 323-346, June.
    3. Pierre‐Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Diego Puga & Sébastien Roux, 2012. "The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities: Distinguishing Agglomeration From Firm Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2543-2594, November.
    4. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
    5. Gregory Corcos & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2012. "Productivity and Firm Selection: Quantifying the ‘New’ Gains from Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 754-798, June.
    6. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
    7. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    8. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hashino, Tomoko & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2012. "Hand looms, power looms, and changing production organizations: the case of the Kiryu weaving district in the early 20th century Japan," Economic History Working Papers 41659, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Tomoko Hashino & Keijiro Otsuka, 2013. "Hand looms, power looms, and changing production organizations: the case of the Kiryū weaving district in early twentieth-century Japan," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(3), pages 785-804, August.
    3. Valter Di Giacinto & Matteo Gomellini & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2014. "Mapping local productivity advantages in Italy: industrial districts, cities or both?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 365-394.
    4. Antonio Accetturo & Valter Di Giacinto & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2013. "Geography, productivity and trade: does selection explain why some locations are more productive than others?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 910, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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