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Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies

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  • Allan Collard-Wexler
  • John Asker
  • Jan De Loecker

Abstract

We investigate the role of dynamic production inputs and their associated adjustment costs in shaping the dispersion of total factor productivity (TFP) and static measures of capital misallocation within a country. Using data on 5,010 establishments in 33 developing countries from the World Bank's Enterprise Research Data, we find that countries exhibiting greater time-series volatility of productivity are also characterized by greater cross-sectional dispersion in productivity. Volatility in TFP explains one quarter to one third of cross-country productivity dispersion. We document a similar relationship between productivity volatility and the dispersion of the marginal revenue product of capital (static capital misallocation). We then use a standard model of investment with adjustment costs, parameterized using numbers calibrated to U.S. data, to show that increasing the volatility of productivity to the level observed in these developing economies can quantitatively replicate the observed relationship between static misallocation and volatility observed in the data. We find that sixty-one percent of the static capital misallocation in the data is captured by the model's prediction. Our findings suggest that the dynamic process governing productivity shocks is a first-order determinant of differences in misallocation and, hence, income across countries.

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  • Allan Collard-Wexler & John Asker & Jan De Loecker, 2011. "Productivity Volatility and the Misallocation of Resources in Developing Economies," NBER Working Papers 17175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17175
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    Cited by:

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    2. Amit Gandhi & Salvador Navarro & David Rivers, 2011. "On the Identification of Production Functions: How Heterogeneous is Productivity?," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20119, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    3. Natalie Bau & Adrien Matray, 2020. "Misallocation and Capital Market Integration: Evidence from India," Working Papers 2020-31, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    4. Felipe S. Iachan, 2020. "Capital Budgeting and Risk Taking Under Credit Constraints," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(9), pages 4292-4314, September.
    5. Bau, Natalie & Matray, Adrien, 2020. "Misallocation and Capital Market Integration: Evidence From India," CEPR Discussion Papers 14282, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Julieta Caunedo, 2013. "Industry Dynamics, Investment and Business Cycles," 2013 Meeting Papers 1078, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. repec:pri:cepsud:230deloecker is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Chris Edmond & Virgiliu Midrigan & Daniel Yi Xu, 2015. "Competition, Markups, and the Gains from International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3183-3221, October.
    9. Marc J. Melitz & Sašo Polanec, 2015. "Dynamic Olley-Pakes productivity decomposition with entry and exit," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(2), pages 362-375, June.
    10. Jones, C.I., 2016. "The Facts of Economic Growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 3-69, Elsevier.
    11. Benjamin Moll & Robert M. Townsend & Victor Zhorin, 2013. "Economic Development, Flow of Funds and the Equilibrium Interaction of Financial Frictions," NBER Working Papers 19618, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Andrea Pozzi & Fabiano Schivardi, 2016. "Demand or productivity: what determines firm growth?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(3), pages 608-630, August.
    13. Michael Peters & Ufuk Akcigit, 2014. "Lack of Selection and Poor Management Practices: Firm Dynamics in Developing Countries," 2014 Meeting Papers 762, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Peters, Michael, 2013. "Heterogeneous mark-ups, growth and endogenous misallocation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54254, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Dumav, Martin & Fuchs, William & Lee, Jangwoo, 2022. "Self-enforcing contracts with persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 72-87.
    16. Natalie Bau & Adrien Matray, 2020. "Misallocation and Capital Market Integration: Evidence from India," Working Papers 263, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    17. Paunov, Caroline & Rollo, Valentina, 2016. "Has the Internet Fostered Inclusive Innovation in the Developing World?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 587-609.
    18. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2013. "Misallocation and productivity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 1-10, January.
    19. Zheng (Michael) Song & Guiying (Laura) Wu, 2013. "A Structural Estimation on Capital Market Distortions in Chinese Manufacturing," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 1306, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
    20. Michael Peters, 2012. "Why Do Inefficient Firms Survive? Management and Economic Development," 2012 Meeting Papers 497, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Da Rocha Jose Maria & Pujolas Pau Salvador, 2011. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity: The Role of Idiosyncratic Shocks," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-36, November.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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