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

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

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17816.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17816
Note: PR
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  1. Amil Petrin & T. Kirk White & Jerome P. Reiter, 2009. "The Impact of Plant-Level Resource Reallocations and Technical Progress on U.S. Macroeconomic Growth," Working Papers 09-43, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  3. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
  4. Ollinger, Michael & Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, 1998. "Innovation And Regulation In The Pesticide Industry," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 27(1), April.
  5. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Mark Roberts & Shawn Klimek & Timothy Dunne, 2004. "Entrant Experience and Plant Exit," Working Papers 04-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  7. Steven Davis & Cheryl Grim & John Haltiwanger, 2008. "Productivity Dispersion and Input Prices: The Case of Electricity," Working Papers 08-33, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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