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Productivity distribution, firm heterogeneity, and agglomeration: Evidence from firm-level data


  • Toshihiro Okubo

    (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)

  • Eiichi Tomiura

    (Department of Economics, Yokohama National University, Japan)


This paper empirically examines how productivity distributions of firms vary across regions based on Japan's manufacturing census data. We find that firm productivity is distributed with wide dispersions, especially in core regions. Our firm-level estimates demonstrate that the productivity distribution of firms tends to be noticeably left-skewed, deviating from the normal distribution, especially in regions with weak market potential but also in agglomerated or urbanized regions. These findings suggest that agglomeration economies are likely to accommodate heterogeneous firms that co-exist in the same region.

Suggested Citation

  • Toshihiro Okubo & Eiichi Tomiura, 2011. "Productivity distribution, firm heterogeneity, and agglomeration: Evidence from firm-level data," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-06, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  • Handle: RePEc:kob:dpaper:dp2011-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kevin Lee & M. Hashem Pesaran & Ron Smith, 1998. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach—A Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 319-323.
    2. Lee, Kevin & Pesaran, M Hashem & Smith, Ron, 1997. "Growth and Convergence in Multi-country Empirical Stochastic Solow Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 357-392, July-Aug..
    3. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    4. Phillips, Peter & Sul, Donggyu, 2002. "Dynamic Panel Estimation and Homogenity Testing Under Cross Section Dependence," Working Papers 194, Department of Economics, The University of Auckland.
    5. Kevin Lee & M. Hashem Pesaran & Ron Smith, "undated". "Growth and Convergence in a Multi-County empirical Stochastic Solow Model," Discussion Papers in Economics 96/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    6. Shibamoto, Masahiko & Tsutsui, Yoshiro & Yamane, Chisako, 2016. "Understanding regional growth dynamics in Japan: Panel co-integration approach utilizing the PANIC method," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 17-30.
    7. Shioji, Etsuro, 2001. "Public Capital and Economic Growth: A Convergence Approach," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 205-227, September.
    8. Nazrul Islam, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-1170.
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    Cited by:

    1. OKUBO Toshihiro & Rikard FORSLID, 2010. "Spatial Relocation with Heterogeneous Firms and Heterogeneous Sectors," Discussion papers 10056, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Natalia Davidson & Oleg Mariyev, 2015. "The impact of spatial concentration on enterprise performance," Economy of region, Centre for Economic Security, Institute of Economics of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, vol. 1(4), pages 95-105.
    3. Davidson Natalia & Kislyak Nadezhda & Vorobyev Pavel, 2010. "Spatial Ñoncentration and Firm Performance in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 10/05e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

    More about this item


    Agglomeration; Productivity; Gamma distribution; Heterogeneity; Firm-level data;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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