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Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-Reeling Clusters, 1908-1915

  • Arimoto, Yutaka
  • Nakajima, Kentaro
  • Okazaki, Tetsuji

We examine two sources of productivity improvement in the specialized industrial clusters of the early twentieth century Japanese silk-reeling industry. Agglomeration improves the productivity of each plant through positive externalities, shifting plant-level productivity distribution to the right. Selection expels less productive plants through competition, truncating distribution on the left. We find no evidence confirming a right shift in the distribution in clusters or that agglomeration promotes faster productivity growth. Rather, the distribution in clusters was severely left truncated, even for younger plants. These findings imply that the plant-selection effect was the source of higher productivity in the Japanese silk-reeling clusters.

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File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/18962/1/wp2010-11.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series CEI Working Paper Series with number 2010-11.

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Length: 29 p.
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:hitcei:2010-11
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  1. 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, 06.
  2. Kristian Behrens & Giordano Mion & Yasusada Murata & Jens Südekum, 2009. "Trade, wages and productivity," Working Paper Research 161, National Bank of Belgium.
    • 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.
  3. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," NBER Working Papers 10501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pierre Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Diego Puga & Sébastien Roux, 2009. "The productivity advantages of large cities: Distinguishing agglomeration from firm selection," Working Papers 2009-02, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales, revised 30 Nov 2010.
  6. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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