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Interpreting the procyclical productivity of manufacturing sectors: external effects or labor hoarding?

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  • Argia M. Sbordone

Abstract

This paper investigates whether procyclical productivity is due to cyclical variations in the rate of utilization of labor or to technological externalities. By looking at the relation between sectoral productivity and the level of aggregate activity, empirical evidence is presented to distinguish the two hypotheses. Analysis of two-digit U.S. manufacturing industries shows that sectoral productivity is more closely related to the rate of change of aggregate activity than to its level. This result is consistent with the interpretation that cyclical productivity is due to cyclical variations in the rate of utilization of labor, which responds to expected future industry conditions. Aggregate variables in production-function regressions have therefore the role of forecasting variables for future industry conditions. Copyright 1997 by Ohio State University Press.
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Suggested Citation

  • Argia M. Sbordone, 1994. "Interpreting the procyclical productivity of manufacturing sectors: external effects or labor hoarding?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhma:94-9
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    Cited by:

    1. Driver, Ciaran & Temple, Paul & Urga, Giovanni, 2006. "Identifying externalities in UK manufacturing using direct estimation of an average cost function," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 228-233, August.
    2. JaeBin Ahn & Moon Jung Choi, 2016. "From Firm-Level Imports to Aggregate Productivity; Evidence from Korean Manufacturing Firms Data," IMF Working Papers 16/162, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Guiso, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 1999. "Information Spillover and Factor Adjustment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2289, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Daria Onori, 2015. "Competition and Growth: Reinterpreting their Relationship," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83(4), pages 398-422, July.
    5. JaeBin Ahn & Moon Jung Choi, 2016. "From Firm-level Imports to Aggregate Productivity: Evidence from Korean Manufacturing Firms Data," Working Papers 2016-6, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    6. Susanto Basu & John Fernald, 2001. "Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care?," NBER Chapters,in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 225-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Wen Yi, 2004. "What Does It Take to Explain Procyclical Productivity?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-40, June.
    8. Busato, Francesco & Chiarini, Bruno & Marchetti, Enrico, 2011. "Indeterminacy, underground activities and tax evasion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 831-844, May.
    9. Robert Inklaar, 2007. "Cyclical Productivity in Europe and the United States: Evaluating the Evidence on Returns to Scale and Input Utilization," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 822-841, November.
    10. Gottfries, Nils & Mickelsson, Glenn & Stadin, Karolina, 2018. "Deep Dynamics," Working Paper Series 2018:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    11. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
    12. Francesco Busato & Enrico Marchetti, 2009. "Skills, sunspots and cycles," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 189-215, July.
    13. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
    14. Sbordone, Argia M., 1996. "Cyclical productivity in a model of labor hoarding," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 331-361, October.
    15. Miguel Jimenez & Domenico J. Marchetti, 2000. "Interpreting the Procyclical Productivity of Manufacturing Sectors: Can We Really Rule Out External Effects:," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1319, Econometric Society.
    16. Roberto Esposti, 2000. "Stochastic Technical Change and Procyclical TFP The Case of Italian Agriculture," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 119-141, September.
    17. Daniel Ryan, 2000. "Fluctuations in productivity growth rates and input utilization in U.S. manufacturing," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 28(2), pages 150-163, June.
    18. repec:dgr:rugggd:200574 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Laamanen, Tomi, 2005. "Dependency, resource depth, and supplier performance during industry downturn," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 125-140, March.
    20. Nemoto, Jiro & Goto, Mika, 2005. "Productivity, efficiency, scale economies and technical change: A new decomposition analysis of TFP applied to the Japanese prefectures," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 617-634, December.
    21. Charlotta Groth & Soledad Nuñez & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2006. "Productivity growth, adjustment costs and variable factor utilisation: the UK case," Bank of England working papers 295, Bank of England.
    22. John G. Fernald & J. Christina Wang, 2016. "Why Has the Cyclicality of Productivity Changed? What Does It Mean?," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 465-496, October.
    23. J. Christina Wang, 2003. "Productivity and economies of scale in the production of bank service value added," Working Papers 03-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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    Keywords

    Manufactures ; Labor productivity;

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