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Productivity Analysis: A Micro-to-Macro Perspective

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  • Carlsson, Bo

    (Case Western Reserve University)

Abstract

This paper raises several issues concerning productivity analysis. An attempt is made to demonstrate the usefulness of a micro-based approach to productivity analysis which challenges some basic assumptions of conventional analyses based on aggregate production functions. With the help of a micro- (firm-)based macro simulation model it is shown if there are important differences among firms in economic competence, here represented by efficiency and investment behavior, the relationships between investment, productivity, and economic growth are much more complex and unpredictable than commonly assumed . The rate of technological progress as measured by the rate of change in best-practice technology seems to be less important than the elimination of inefficiency by closure of firms and/or by firms moving closer to their respective production frontiers. It is also shown that the conditions which determine firm borrowing for investment (involving their interpretation of past profitability and expectations based on current capacity utilization) are more important for productivity and economic growth than the total amount invested. In other words, it matters less how much is invested than who does the investing, and under what incentives. The implication for productivity analysis is that unless diversity among economic units is taken into account, the results are likely to continue to be inconclusive. What is needed is much more of an integration of micro and macro theory than has been accomplished thus far. In particular, economic competence must be included. The paper also tries to put productivity in the proper perspective, not as an object in and of itself but rather as a partial measure, at best, of economic performance at any level within the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Bo, 1987. "Productivity Analysis: A Micro-to-Macro Perspective," Working Paper Series 181, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised Mar 1990.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0181
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    File URL: http://www.ifn.se/wfiles/wp/wp181.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1983. "Excess Volatility in the Financial Markets: A Reassessment of the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(6), pages 929-956, December.
    2. Sweeney, Richard J, 1986. " Beating the Foreign Exchange Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(1), pages 163-182, March.
    3. LeRoy, Stephen F, 1984. "Efficiency and the Variability of Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 183-187, May.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-227, May.
    5. Robert J. Shiller, 1984. "Stock Prices and Social Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 457-510.
    6. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Froot, Kenneth A, 1987. "Using Survey Data to Test Standard Propositions Regarding Exchange Rate Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 133-153.
    7. Meese, Richard A, 1986. "Testing for Bubbles in Exchange Markets: A Case of Sparkling Rates?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 345-373, April.
    8. Kormendi, Roger C & Meguire, Philip G, 1984. "Cross-Regime Evidence of Macroeconomic Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 875-908, October.
    9. Flood, Robert P & Garber, Peter M, 1980. "Market Fundamentals versus Price-Level Bubbles: The First Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 745-770, August.
    10. Hamilton, James D. & Whiteman, Charles H., 1985. "The observable implications of self-fulfilling expectations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 353-373, November.
    11. Aliber, Robert Z, 1970. "Speculation in the Flexible Exchange Revisited," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 303-314.
    12. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Kenneth A. Froot, 1985. "Using Survey Data to Test Some Standard Propositions Regarding Exchange Rate Expectations," NBER Working Papers 1672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ballot, GĂ©rard & Taymaz, Erol, 1993. "Firm-Sponsored Training, Technical Progress and Aggregate Performance in a Micro-Macro Model," Working Paper Series 402, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productivity analysis; micro-to-macro model; simulation; investment; economic growth; technological progress;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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