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Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection

  • Bartelsman, Eric

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • Haltiwanger, John C.

    ()

    (University of Maryland)

  • Scarpetta, Stefano

    ()

    (OECD)

This paper combines different strands of the productivity literature to investigate the effect of idiosyncratic (firm-level) policy distortions on aggregate outcomes. On the one hand, a growing body of empirical research has been relating cross-country differences in key economic outcomes, such as productivity or output per capita, to differences in policies and institutions that shape the business environment. On the other hand, a branch of empirical research has attempted to shed light on the determinants of productivity at the firm-level and the evolution of the distribution of productivity across firms within each industry. In this paper, we exploit a rich source of data with harmonized statistics on firm level variation within industries for a number of countries. Our key empirical finding is that there is substantial variation in the within-industry covariance between size and productivity across countries, and this variation is affected by the presence of idiosyncratic distortions. We develop a model in which heterogeneous firms face adjustment frictions (overhead labor and quasi-fixed capital) and idiosyncratic distortions. We show that the model can be readily calibrated to match the observed cross-country patterns of the within-industry covariance between productivity and size and thus help to explain the observed differences in aggregate performance.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4578.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2013, 103 (1), 305-334
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4578
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  1. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Working Papers 12354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Duflo, Esther, 2005. "Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 473-552 Elsevier.
  3. Aterido, Reyes & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary & Pagés, Carmen, 2007. "Investment Climate and Employment Growth: The Impact of Access to Finance, Corruption and Regulations Across Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 3138, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Eric J. Bartelsman & Pieter A. Gautier & Joris de Wind, 2011. "Employment Protection, Technology Choice, and Worker Allocation," DNB Working Papers 295, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  5. Lucia Foster & John C. Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2001. "Aggregate Productivity Growth. Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 303-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George Alessandria & Horag Choi, 2007. "Do Sunk Costs of Exporting Matter for Net Export Dynamics?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 289-336, 02.
  7. Eric J. Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2004. "Microeconomic Evidence of Creative Destruction in Industrial and Developing Countries," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-114/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
  10. Eric Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2009. "Measuring and Analyzing Cross-country Differences in Firm Dynamics," NBER Chapters, in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 15-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," Working Papers 09-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  12. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  13. 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.
  14. Benassy, Jean-Pascal, 1996. "Taste for variety and optimum production patterns in monopolistic competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 41-47, July.
  15. David Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 508, Econometric Society.
  16. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Business Volatility, Job Destruction, and Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 259-87, April.
  17. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, 07.
  18. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton & Fabio Kanczuk, 2008. "Plant-Size Distribution and Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Working Papers 14060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Thorsten Schank, 2003. "Productivity, Investment in ICT and Market Experimentation: Micro Evidence from Germany and the U.S," Working Papers 03-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  20. John C. Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," NBER Working Papers 16300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 707-720, October.
  22. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2006. "Market Selection, Reallocation, and Restructuring in the U.S. Retail Trade Sector in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 748-758, November.
  23. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Substitutability and Productivity Dispersion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 534-550, May.
  24. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2005. "Comparative analysis of firm demographics and survival: evidence from micro-level sources in OECD countries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 365-391, June.
  25. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  26. Danielle Venn, 2009. "Legislation, Collective Bargaining and Enforcement: Updating the OECD Employment Protection Indicators," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 89, OECD Publishing.
  27. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
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