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Acquisitions, Productivity, and Profitability: Evidence from the Japanese Cotton Spinning Industry

  • Serguey Braguinsky
  • Atsushi Ohyama
  • Tetsuji Okazaki
  • Chad Syverson

We explore how changes in ownership and managerial control affect the productivity and profitability of producers. Using detailed operational, financial, and ownership data from the Japanese cotton spinning industry at the turn of the last century, we find a more nuanced picture than the straightforward "higher productivity buys lower productivity" story commonly appealed to in the literature. Acquired firms' production facilities were not on average less physically productive than the plants of the acquiring firms before acquisition, conditional on operating. They were much less profitable, however, due to consistently higher inventory levels and lower capacity utilization--differences which reflected problems in managing the uncertainties of demand. When purchased by more profitable firms, these less profitable acquired plants saw drops in inventories and gains in capacity utilization that raised both their productivity and profitability levels, consistent with acquiring owner/managers spreading their better demand management abilities across the acquired capital.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19901.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19901
Note: CF DEV IO PR
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  1. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0716, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Joel David, 2012. "The Aggregate Implications of Mergers and Acquisitions," 2012 Meeting Papers 1178, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Atsushi Ohyama & Serguey Braguinsky & Kevin M. Murphy, 2004. "Entrepreneurial Ability and Market Selection in an Infant Industry: Evidence from the Japanese Cotton Spinning Industry," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 354-381, April.
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  8. Bertrand, Marianne & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," Working papers 4280-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  9. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  10. R Blundell & Steven Bond, . "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  11. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 1999. "Corporate Governance in Transitional Economies: Lessons from the Pre-War Japanese Cotton Textile Industry," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-48, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  12. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," NBER Working Papers 11555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Vojislav Maksimovic, 2001. "The Market for Corporate Assets: Who Engages in Mergers and Asset Sales and Are There Efficiency Gains?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2019-2065, December.
  15. Robert H. McGuckin & Sang V. Nguyen, 1995. "On Productivity and Plant Ownership Change: New Evidence from the Longitudinal Research Database," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 257-276, Summer.
  16. Daniel M. Bernhofen & John C. Brown, 2004. "A Direct Test of the Theory of Comparative Advantage: The Case of Japan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 48-67, February.
  17. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2009. "On estimating firm-level production functions using proxy variables to control for unobservables," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 112-114, September.
  18. Saxonhouse, Gary R, 1977. "Productivity Change and Labor Absorption in Japanese Cotton Spinning, 1891-1935," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 195-219, May.
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