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Total Factor Productivity Revisited: A Dual Approach to Development Accounting

Author

Listed:
  • Shekhar Aiyar

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper tackles a number of issues that are central to cross-country comparisons of productivity. We develop a “dual” method to compare levels of total factor productivity (TFP) across nations that relies on factor price data rather than the data on stocks of factors required by standard “primal” estimates. Consistent with the development accounting literature based on primal estimates, we find that TFP accounts for the bulk of differences in income per worker across countries. However, we also find that there are significant differences between TFP series calculated using the two different approaches. We trace the reason for this divergence to inconsistencies between the data on user costs of capital and physical stocks of capital. In addition, we establish that the standard Cobb-Douglas methodology of assuming a constant capital share of one-third for all countries is a very good approximation to a more general formulation under which countries have different aggregate production functions which do not require a constant elasticity of substitution between factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Shekhar Aiyar & Carl-Johan Dalgaard, 2004. "Total Factor Productivity Revisited: A Dual Approach to Development Accounting," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-07, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:04-07
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/epru/files/wp/wp-04-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    2. Alwyn Young, 1992. "A Tale of Two Cities: Factor Accumulation and Technical Change in Hong Kong and Singapore," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 13-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
    4. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, "undated". "The Productivity of Nations," Working Papers 96012, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    5. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
    6. Kevin J. Stiroh & Dale W. Jorgenson, 1999. "Information Technology and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 109-115, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    TFP; development accounting; dual approach; Cobb-Douglas hypothesis;

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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