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Productivity Growth in the Automobile Industry, 1970-1980: A Comparisonof Canada, Japan and the United States


  • Melvyn A. Fuss
  • Leonard Waverman


In this paper we calculate and analyze the automobile industries cost and productivity experience during the 1970 's in Canada, the U.S.and Japan. Utilizing an econometric cost function methodology, we are able to isolate the major source of short-run disequilibrium in this industry-variations' in capacity utilization-and analyze its effects on cost and total factor productivity (TFP) gross. This is achieved through a novel application of the Viner-Wng envelope theorem, which allows us to track short-run behavior utilizing what is essentially a long-run cost function.To striking empirical results energe. First, TFP grew much faster in the Japanese automobile industry (4.3% annum) than in the Canadian (1.4%) and U. S.(1.6%) industries. Second, the importance in analyzing variations in capacity utilization is confinned by the fact that failure to correct for this source of productivity change would have led to a 31% under estimate of long-run TFP growth in Canada arid a 37% underestimate for the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Melvyn A. Fuss & Leonard Waverman, 1985. "Productivity Growth in the Automobile Industry, 1970-1980: A Comparisonof Canada, Japan and the United States," NBER Working Papers 1735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1735
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Norsworthy, J R & Malmquist, David H, 1983. "Input Measurement and Productivity Growth in Japanese and U.S. Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 947-967, December.
    2. Ernst R. Berndt & Melvyn A. Fuss, 1982. "Productivity Measurement Using Capital Asset Valuation to Adjust for Variations in Utilization," NBER Working Papers 0895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. M. Denny & M. Fuss & J. D. May, 1981. "Intertemporal Changes in Regional Productivity in Canadian Manufacturing," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 14(3), pages 390-408, August.
    4. Michael Denny & M. Fuss & C. Everson & L. Waverman, 1981. "Estimating the Effects of Diffusion of Technological Innovations in Telecommunications: The Production Structure of Bell Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 14(1), pages 24-43, February.
    5. Denny, Michael & Fuss, Melvyn, 1983. "A general approach to intertemporal and interspatial productivity comparisons," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 315-330, December.
    6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    7. Kim, Moshe, 1984. "The Beneficiaries of Trucking Regulation, Revisited," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 227-241, April.
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