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Plant-level Productivity and Imputation of Missing Data in U.S. Census Manufacturing Data

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  • T. Kirk White
  • Jerome P. Reiter
  • Amil Petrin

Abstract

Within-industry differences in measured plant-level productivity are large. A large literature has been devoted to explaining the causes and consequences of these differences. In the U.S. Census Bureau's manufacturing data, the Bureau imputes for missing values using methods known to result in underestimation of variability and potential bias in multivariate inferences. We present an alternative strategy for handling the missing data based on multiple imputation via sequences of classification and regression trees. We use our imputations and the Bureau's imputations to estimate within-industry productivity dispersions. The results suggest that there is more within-industry productivity dispersion than previous research has indicated. We also estimate relationships between productivity and market structure and between output prices, capital, and the probability of plant exit (controlling for productivity) based on the improved imputations. For some estimands, we find substantially different results than those based on the Census Bureau's imputations.

Suggested Citation

  • T. Kirk White & Jerome P. Reiter & Amil Petrin, 2012. "Plant-level Productivity and Imputation of Missing Data in U.S. Census Manufacturing Data," NBER Working Papers 17816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17816
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cindy Cunningham & Lucia Foster & Cheryl Grim & John Haltiwanger & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia & Jay Stewart & Zoltan Wolf, 2018. "Dispersion in Dispersion: Measuring Establishment-Level Differences in Productivity," Working Papers 18-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Eric J. Bartelsman & Zoltan Wolf, 2017. "Measuring Productivity Dispersion," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-033/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. G. Jacob Blackwood & Lucia S. Foster & Cheryl A. Grim & John Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2021. "Macro and Micro Dynamics of Productivity: From Devilish Details to Insights," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 142-172, July.
    4. Ezra Oberfield & Devesh Raval, 2021. "Micro Data and Macro Technology," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(2), pages 703-732, March.
    5. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2017. "Dispersion and Volatility of TFPQ in Service Industries," SSPJ Discussion Paper Series DP17-008, Service Sector Productivity in Japan: Determinants and Policies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    6. T. Kirk White, 2014. "Recovering The Item-Level Edit And Imputation Flags In The 1977-1997 Censuses Of Manufactures," Working Papers 14-37, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Breunig, Christoph & Kummer, Michael & Ohnemus, Jörg & Viete, Steffen, 2016. "IT outsourcing and firm productivity: Eliminating bias from selective missingness in the dependent variable," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-092, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    8. Martin Rotemberg & T. Kirk White, 2016. "Measuring Cross-Country Differences in Misallocation," Working Papers 16-50, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Ildikó Magyari, 2017. "Firm Reorganization, Chinese Imports, and US Manufacturing Employment," Working Papers 17-58, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    10. Boyd, Gale A. & Curtis, E. Mark, 2014. "Evidence of an “Energy-Management Gap” in U.S. manufacturing: Spillovers from firm management practices to energy efficiency," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 463-479.
    11. Oren Ziv, 2017. "Geography in Reduced Form," Working Papers 17-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Enghin Atalay, 2014. "Materials Prices And Productivity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 575-611, June.
    13. Matt Marx, 2018. "Punctuated Entrepreneurship (Among Women)," Working Papers 18-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    14. Lucia S. Foster & Cheryl A. Grim & John Haltiwanger & Zoltan Wolf, 2017. "Macro and Micro Dynamics of Productivity: From Devilish Details to Insights," NBER Working Papers 23666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Barnett, Alina & Chiu, Adrian & Franklin, Jeremy & Sebastia-Barriel, Maria, 2014. "The productivity puzzle: a firm-level investigation into employment behaviour and resource allocation over the crisis," Bank of England working papers 495, Bank of England.
    16. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2017. "Dispersion and Volatility of TFPQ in Service Industries," Discussion papers 17088, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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